In the biggest brownest muddiest river in Africa, two crocodiles lay with their heads just above the water.
When the Enormous Crocodile decides to journey into the village for a snack of small children, the jungle animals are shocked and appalled. How could he think of doing such a terrible thing? And surely the children will run a mile as soon as they see him? Ah, but the Enormous Crocodile has secret plans and clever tricks to help him get his lunch – but are they as clever as he thinks?
The Enormous Crocodile is Dahl’s first foray into picture books and I’m happy to say that he packed as much humour and characterisation in this short tale as he does in his novels. The names of the jungle creatures alone are signature Dahl – Muggle-Wump the Monkey, Humpy Rumpy the Hippopotamus, the Roly-Poly Bird and Trunky the Elephant – and they are so much fun to read aloud! The key repetition pattern of picture books is present throughout, allowing children to join in even if they are unable to read independently themselves and Dahl creates a villain in the titular character who poses just enough of a threat to enthralled but not terrify!
Not only is The Enormous Crocodile a fantastic picture book read but it was the first collaboration between Dahl and, the man who came to be his illustrator, Quentin Blake. This professional ‘marriage’ of illustrator and narrative style has created possibly the greatest, or at least the most recognisable, product in the whole of children’s literature – the dynamic duo were born with The Enormous Crocodile. It’s worth a read just to witness where the magic began…