cover image Princess Cora and the Crocodile

Princess Cora and the Crocodile

Laura Amy Schlitz, illus. by Brian Floca. Candlewick, $18.99 (80p) ISBN 978-0-7636-4822-0

Legions of schoolchildren will empathize with overscheduled Princess Cora, whose well-meaning but misguided royal parents insist that a regimen of boring reading, mindless exercise, and frequent bathing is the only way to ensure that she’ll be fit to inherit the throne. After they refuse her a dog, Cora channels her simmering anger into a letter to her fairy godmother, which she then rips up—a toothless act of rebellion that Schlitz (The Hired Girl) infuses with magic: “Because it was a letter to her fairy godmother, every scrap turned into a white butterfly and flew away.” Cora’s godmother gets the message, delivering a pet the monarchs justly deserve: a crocodile with an outsize id and none of Cora’s impulse to please. In illustrations that amplify Schlitz’s wry humor, Caldecott Medalist Floca (Locomotive) produces a reptile that delightfully runs amuck. A mop wig and frilly dress let princess and croc to swap places, allowing Cora much-needed freedom while the crocodile trades insults with the Queen (“Reptile!” “Mammal!”) and gnaws on the fitness-obsessed King (just a little). Utterly charming from start to finish. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Stephen Barbara, Inkwell Management. (Mar.) [/em]