cover image Chris & Croc

Chris & Croc

Marcus Pfister. NorthSouth, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-1-55858-273-6

The creator of The Rainbow Fish serves up a tepid, rambling friendship story about a boy named Chris and his stuffed-toy crocodile. Somewhere between Lyle and Barney lingers Croc, in a kind of stuffed-toy-as-playmate limbo. Alternating between bored baby-sitter and mischievous conspirator, Croc yawns, ``You're not doing too well, my boy,'' when Chris teeters clumsily on his roller skates. Then, after gleefully suggesting that Chris strap on a few pillows to cushion him like a hockey player, Croc hypocritically warns the boy that his mother ``is not going to be happy to see those pillows.'' A few episodes later, Croc crashes to the ground after parachuting from a tree branch, but the reluctant Chris devises a way to save face in front of his daring pal. Their day together ends on a raffish note: Croc is shown devouring the spinach which Chris deems ``yuck.'' Despite Pfister's diverting watercolors, the story's channel-surfing structure and sloppy characterization rarely coalesce. Ages 5-8. (May)