Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Brian Floca

When Princess Cora was born, her parents were overjoyed. Their perfect baby would someday be Queen.  But how to insure that she will be the best Queen possible? Her parents, the King and Queen, decide the way to do that is to teach her and to train her for the job. The King and Queen no longer saw their daughter as perfect and began to think about what was wrong with her. 

And so, they began to do nothing but teach and train her so that by the time Princess Cora is 7 years old, she does nothing but read dull, boring books, take endless baths, and exercise in the old castle’s prison turned exercise room. They even refuse her request for a dog - they are dirty and beside, Princess Cora has no time to spare for a dog. Tired of her life being macro-managed by her parents and having no fun, Princess Cora decides to write to her fairy godmother for help.

And help does arrive - in the form of a large, green crocodile who is about a different from Princess Cora as anything possibly could be. Putting on a mop wig and one of Princess Cora’s dresses, the two swap places for a day. 
While Princess Cora finally gets to have some free time, and go exploring without anyone telling her what to do or how to behave, her replacement in the castle wrecks havoc with the nanny, the Queen and even the King. When Princess Cora returns, she can’t believe what the crocodile has done, but maybe, just maybe, he has caused enough problems he has managed to open the parents eyes to the possibility that they had over-scheduled her life and some free time might be a good idea. But, does, Princess Cora get that puppy, after all?

Princess Cora and the Crocodile is a fairy tale that is bound to make young readers laugh out loud, given author Laura Amy Schlitz’s dry yet age appropriate wit coupled with her clear and and direct writing style, and well-structured plot. Brian Floca’s wonderfully humorous ink, watercolor, and gouache illustrations compliments and extends the fairy tale quality of the story. Together, they have created a lighthearted tale though with some pretty serious undertones about the lives of some of today’s children.      

If you are looking for a excellent early chapter book, than look no further than Princess Cora and the Crocodile. Parents and their young readers will love at the crazy antics of the crocodile, while kids will definitely empathize with Princess Cora's plight and cheer her on as she takes some measure of control over her life. 

This also made a great read aloud story for my young readers. But, this time, we did something different.  I had thought this would make a great book for young readers read to their parents (and maybe they will take the hint about macro-managing the lives of their kids), especially over the summer when there is no school or any after school activities going on. It was quite successful when we tried it. The kids had fun, particularly when it can to the crocodile's dialogue and they got in some nice, lighthearted reading practice without feeling like Princess Cora. 

This book is recommended for readers age 5+
This book was sent to me by the publisher, Candlewick Press

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