HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Enormous Crocodile
Author: Roald Dahl
Illustrator: Quentin Blake
Publisher: Puffin, reprinted 1993
Related website(s): http://www.roalddahl.com (author)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 7 – 10
Rating: *** 3 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Dahl, Roald. The Enormous Crocodile (Published in 1978 by Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Books USA Inc., 375 Hudson St., New York City, NY 10014; republished in 1998 by Trumpet Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., 555 Broadway, New York City, NY 10012). The Enormous Crocodile lives in the biggest brownest muddiest river in the African jungle. He is incredibly hungry—and incredibly greedy. His favorite meal is a plump, juicy little child, and he intends to gobble up as many of them as he can. Along the way he meets Humpy-Rumpy the hippopotamus, Trunky the elephant, Muggle-Wump the monkey, and the Roly-Poly Bird, and tells them all about his “secret plans and clever tricks.” But how does he make out when he gets to where the children are? Is there anybody who will help them to escape? And what happens to The Enormous Crocodile in the end?
Author Roald Dahl has written some very good books, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but others are highly questionable. For many kids, The Enormous Crocodile may be harmless fantasy that might even be considered hilariously funny. But more sensitive children could find the idea of being eaten by a crocodile who says, “I’m off to find a yummy child for lunch; Keep listening and you’ll hear their bones go crunch!” a bit on the frightening side. I certainly understand the complaint of the reader-reviewer who wrote, “This book was morbid! It would have given the kids nightmares! Good grief! What has become of children’s literature? I returned it and bought books about Lyle the crocodile. Man eating crocs should be on National Geographic and Animal Planet, not children’s books.”