cover image Crocodiles Need Kisses Too

Crocodiles Need Kisses Too

Rebecca Colby, illus. by Penelope Dullaghan. Viking, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-451-48007-1

Toe-tapping verse by Colby (Captain Bling’s Christmas Plunder) suggests that creatures who seem homely, scary, or fierce want love as much as anyone: “Despite their lumpy, bumpy hide,/ toothy mouths stretched open wide,// just like me and just like you,/ crocodiles need kisses, too.” Dullaghan (Max Attacks) paints two spreads for each creature, the first with the animal’s threatening features more prominently on display, the second a sweeter and fuzzier view. A parade of fierce animals appears: vultures, sharks (“Forget their ragged, jagged grins,/ turning, churning, circling fins”), tarantulas (“Just like me and just like you,/ tarantulas need tickles too”). Then readers discover that the narrator is a parent speaking to a child—a child in a crocodile costume who’s having a meltdown: “Regardless of your smashing tail,/ howling cry and yowling wail,” the parent says, “children need affection too.” The lesson that everyone deserves devotion is one worth remembering. Ages 2–5. [em]Author’s agent: Kathleen Rushall, Andrea Brown Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Scott Hull, Scott Hull Assoc. (Apr.) [/em]