Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Crocodile Who Thought She Was a Duck by Charley Chomp

The Crocodile Who Thought She Was a Duck by Charley Chomp is one of the books in the Pencil Play Pals series created by Norman Childes.

Joan and Harry are two crocodiles who decide that they would like to have their own children. After receving a partial lesson from the birds and the bees, Joan becomes pregnant. But alas, a hunter appears and shoots at then happy couple. Harry's tail is nicked by a bullet and he disappears to maintain his safety.

Joan is left all alone, and after two months she lays a bunch of eggs. Because her lesson by the birds and the bees had been interrupted, she doesn't understand that crocodiles also lay eggs. She thinks that only birds lay eggs.

She then begins a comparison between herself and ducks, realizing that they have a lot in common. Now she is convinced that she is going to be a mother to a bunch of ducklings. A worm teases her that if she is going to be the mother of ducks then she needs to learn how to fly.

With the assistance of other animals, Joan tries to learn how to fly, but with little success. She returns home to her eggs, which are starting to hatch, and is ecstatic to discover that instead of little ducklings, she has baby crocodiles. And to complete the happy family, Harry finally reappears, after being in hiding from the hunters all this time.

Honestly, this book is my least favorite of the series. I think the story has potential and the general message could have been maintained, without a couple of parts. I don't think there needed to have been a discussion about the birds and the bees, or talk about how to go about having babies. Joan could have laid a bunch of eggs perhaps next to a duck who had laid eggs, and gotten confused that way. She still could have compared herself to a duck, and tried to learn how to fly, and still have been relieved to have hatched a bunch of baby crocs instead of a bunch of ducklings.

I also did not care for the entire part about a hunter shooting at the crocs. I know hunters exist in a lot of classic books, such as the story of Bambi, and Roald Dahl's The Magic Finger. But to me, those stories end up demonstrating why guns are not okay, and this one doesn't. Then again, I am not a hunter. I am a Montessorian, and naturally prefer the peaceful aspects of life.

This book does have some great points that I do appreciate. At then end, Norman Childes encourages children to create their own drawings and stories for Joan and Harry. I'm a big proponent of anything that inspires creativity and literacy in children. He includes numerous facts about crocodiles, which can serve as a science lesson. Children can make their own Venn diagrams or comparison charts about ducks v. crocodiles.

Find out more about Norman Childes' Pencil Play Pals series by visiting the website at

Stay tuned for reviews of more books in the series, as well as an interview with Norman Childes.

Purchase a copy of The Crocodile Who Thought She Was a Duck

No comments:

Post a Comment