cover image Solomon Crocodile

Solomon Crocodile

Catherine Rayner. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-38064-

Short, sweet, and tailor-made for story time, this perfectly paced tale of jungle mischief introduces a toddlerlike crocodile, Solomon, whose definition of “fun” is what other animals would probably label “annoying.” In quick succession, Solomon “splats and slops through the mud to make the frogs jump,” then “shakes the bulrushes and bugs the dragonflies,” and “decides to stalk the storks. They get in such a flap!” Each time, the animals send him away (“Go away, Solomon. You’re nothing but a nuisance”), especially the “biggest hippo in the river,” who proves no easy target. “Go away! You’re nothing but trouble!” the hippo roars, as Solomon instantly goes from gleeful to terrified. Luckily for Solomon, he’s not one of a kind, and his discovery of a like-minded crocodile signals the arrival of a friend—and “double trouble” for the animal kingdom. Greenaway Medalist Rayner (Harris Finds His Feet) offers a playful hero with expressive eyes, a sly smile and paint-spattered skin. Parents with willful and rambunctious kids may groan, but the book has the makings of a readaloud hit. Ages 2–6. (Dec.)