Moroni, Lisa. Watch Out for the Crocodile. Illustrated by Eva Eriksson. Book Review.

Click here to buy Watch Out for the Crocodile

Tora is excited to be going camping with her father, however she is disappointed that they go shopping for food instead of living off the land and have to drive so far to get to the forest. She thinks her father is terribly boring. What she most wants to do is see wild animals. Her father spots a woodpecker, but it flies away before Tora can see it. She also misses the squirrel. Tora begins to use her imagination, transforming a root into a snake, tree trunks into giraffes, and so on. The story ends with an epic battle between Tora and the “crocodile” that is trying to eat her father. They have a wonderful day and at the end Tora says, “and good night, best Dad in the world.”

There is a strange moment in the story when Tora and her father come across a field of stumps. Her father tells her there was once a “troll forest” here. Depressed, her father sits down while Tora plays with imaginary trolls. I’m not sure how the reader is supposed to take the scene. It almost seems to say that with imagination even a clear-cut forest can be fun. I think the story would be better off without it.

The illustrations are appealing single and double spreads that seem to be done in a combination of watercolor paint and colored pencil. Children will enjoy predicting how Tora will interpret the landscape with her imagination.


Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages