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Where Crocodiles Have Wings

Where Crocodiles Have Wings

by Patricia C. McKissack, Bob Barner (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
McKissack (Precious and the Boo Hag) presents a fanciful bedtime rhyme: "There's a once-upon-a-place/ in time and space/ where surprises grow on trees/ And crocs have wings." Barner (Dem Bones) depicts the imaginary animals cavorting in a universe studded with '60s-style stars and flowers. He draws the verses together by casting a boy in plaid pajamas in the role of modeling the activities of the poem, tracing his course through full-bleed spreads with a dotted line. Collages built of simple shapes cut from bright solids and prints, heavily outlined in ink, and mounted on fields of contrasting colors bring kinetic energy to McKissack's verses. "Coyotes sneeze/ And chickens wheeze/ Whenever the seasons/ change." Here, a gray rice-paper coyote with a long, pointy snout tries to stifle a sneeze with a handkerchief, but not before scattering a flock of chickens. A turtle sports a patchwork shell ("Where/ Turtles go fast/ never come last/ And win all the races they're in") and a smiling King of the Beasts strums a guitar ("A roaring mouse/ A lizard's house/ Or a lion who writes pretty love songs"). "Remember what to do," McKissack concludes, "Touch your toes/ Wiggle your nose/ and open a favorite book." Saucy images and rhythmic language await children who enter this alluring world. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-In this muddled picture book, readers are told that "There's a once-upon-a-place/in time and space/where surprises grow on trees/And crocs have wings." Unfortunately, the text never makes clear exactly what this place is, or why anyone would want to go there. The book simply lays out a bizarre and plodding description of a land where "Coyotes sneeze/And chickens wheeze/Whenever the seasons/change--/And bears lay eggs/With two good legs/For running in marathons." At the end, there is a brief nod to the power of the imagination, as youngsters are instructed to "Touch your toes/Wiggle your nose/and open a favorite book-." Unfortunately, the world that this book depicts is one in which bouncy rhyme schemes are picked up and inexplicably dropped in the space of a single page, and in which meter is halting, jolting, and inconsistent. Also, some of the busy, cut-paper collage illustrations do not depict what is described in the text. Stick with McKissack's more successful titles, such as Precious and the Boo Hag (S & S, 2005), and skip this offering.-Rachael Vilmar, Atlanta Fulton Public Library, GA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Bold and imaginative collage illustrations swirl and swoop against neon-bright backgrounds in this exploration of a nonsensical world "where surprises grow on trees." Barner's illustrations are a delightful cacophony of brilliant colors and flowing shapes outlined in thick, black strokes, with sprinkles of stars and flowers to underscore the flavor of fantasy. In a rollicking, rhyming text (that occasionally doesn't scan), McKissack introduces a cast of happy animals engaging in wildly inventive activities (bears laying eggs, zebras playing hockey) or possessing extraordinary characteristics (a fuchsia fox in argyle socks, a rat with four eyes). As a connecting device, a little boy in plaid pajamas bounces in and out of the illustrations, landing in bed at the final verse that indicates that such fantastical creatures can be found in the pages of favorite books. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.82(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.20(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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