Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A crocodile claims ownership of the forest's river and forcibly defends his turf. His impressive array of sharp teeth intimidates the other animals: "Whenever they were thirsty, they had to go for miles out of their way to drink in other rivers and streams." Then one day, when a terrible toothache torments the crocodile, a tiny mouse suddenly and inexplicably scurries into his mouth to extract the offending molar. The crocodile's hard heart quickly softens and he realizes, "The river belongs to all of us!" Charles (A Caribbean Counting Book) uses just enough dialogue to ratchet up the story's drama, yet omits the motive behind the mouse's decision to risk his life and help the crocodile. Terry's (Animal Stories) full-bleed spreads, in tropical blues and greens, convey a verdant panorama. His broadly portrayed animals sport bug eyes and cartoonish grins, and the louche crocodile--depicted in one spread lounging with centerfold-like raffishness--is particularly sporting. But because key narrative developments seem to be skipped over or taken for granted, the resolution feels rushed and the moral diluted. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Sue Reichard
The crocodile thinks he owns the river. He very selfishly proclaims to the other animals, "stay away from the river! It's my river! And if you come any closer I'll eat you up!" The other animals were afraid of the selfish crocodile. Then one day there was a terrible groaning sound. The crocodile was in terrible pain from a toothache. Readers will enjoy how the crocodile's problem is solved. The whimsical creatures will enchant readers as they see how being kind to others is the right way to live.
A weak story that has echoes of familiar folktales, but no resonance. A selfish crocodile who lived "deep in the forest" commands all the other animals to stay away from the river, which he considers his. "I'll eat you up!" he warns. The animals have to walk "for miles out of their way" to find drinking water. One day the crocodile has a toothache, and when the others are too frightened to get close, a mouse pulls the tooth and promises to help him in the future. Consequently, the crocodile invites all the creatures to enjoy the river, although the connection between having a friend and declaring open house is left vague. The illustrations have a greeting-card charm, with 13 animals trudging off for water bearing the same pop-eyed, frowning expression. When the crocodile groans in pain, the animals don't look toward the source of sound, but up in the air at the words "GROAN GROAN." (Picture book. 3-7) .