Arrivedeci, Crocodile or See You Later, Alligator
Begun by Fred Marcellino
Completed by Eric Puybaret
Caitlyn Dlouhy Books 9/10/2019
32 pages Ages 4—8
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Fiction.
Synopsis—Can a hungry crocodile trick—and eat!—his way through Italian high society? Pack away your pasta—Crocodile is heading to Italy in this long-awaited sequel to Fred Marcellino’s award-winning I, Crocodile.
First that dastardly Napoleon kidnapped Crocodile from his beloved Egypt, then he dragged him to Paris to be gawked at, and THEN he tried to eat him! Luckily our dear croc escaped, but while Parisian life may be glamorous, life in Paris’s sewers is not. If only Napoleon had taken Crocodile to a more aquatic reptile-friendly city, perhaps one with an excess of canals and better food . . .
“NAPOLEON TO TOUR ITALY: FIRST STOP, VENICE”
Surely Napoleon won’t mind if Crocodile hitched a ride out of Paris . . . (from publisher)
Why I like this book—Arrivedeci, Crocodile or See You Later, Alligator is a humorous romp around Venice with a lovable and adventurous crocodile simply called Crocodile. Crocodile dreams of a city filled with canals and a bounty of luscious food. He finds both in Venice, along with new friends. After hitching a ride on Napoleon’s caravan and then his royal barge, Crocodile arrives in Venice where a statue of a crocodile, sitting reverently upon a tall column, encouragingly welcomes him.
Most in the city wear costumes and assume Crocodile is dressed as a croc, rather than a real reptile. They invite Crocodile to lunch and the costume ball later that evening. For Crocodile, the main attraction is a beautiful buffet of incredible Italian food. But Napoleon still considers Crocodile a possession he is not willing to set free. (Carried over from I, Crocodile.) Crocodile’s escape continues the hi-jinks up to the perfect slapstick ending. Parents will enjoy Crocodile, laughing right along with their children.
Arrivederci, Crocodile’s most interesting story is that of its creation. Author/illustrator Fred Marcellino found critical acclaim with I, Crocodile, the first Crocodile story. I have not read it but, based on this sequel, can imagine how wonderful it must be. Marcellino passed away before finishing Arrivederci, Crocodile. Publisher Simon & Schuster retained Eric Puybaret, a great fan of Marcellino, to finish the book. His illustrative work is similar to Marcellino’s, though Marcellino’s version of Crocodile (in I, Crocodile), has more details representing a crocodile than Puybaret’s version. Between the creativity of these two artists and the eager publisher, Arrivederci, Crocodile or See You Later, Alligator finally makes its way to eager readers, me included.
But . . . the title will confuse an alert reader. Arrivederci, Crocodile or See You Later, Alligator is misleading. Crocodile cannot be both a crocodile and an alligator. These two reptiles are distinctly different, particularly in the snout. I think the title is meant to be a humorous take on the goodbye phrase “See you later alligator, after ‘while crocodile.” If meant as a goodbye between Marcellino and Puybaret then Arrivederci, Crocodile or See You Later, Alligator is the perfect expression of one artist to the other.
Illustrations—Rendered in watercolor.
Arrivederci, Crocodile or See You Later, Alligator. Text copyright © 2019 by The Estate of Fred Marcellino. Illustrations copyright © 2019 by Eric Puybaret. Published by Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster, New York, NY.
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Copyright © 2019 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved