Maverick Books have just sent through their newest titles and the Madhouse kids couldn't wait to discover them. We started of with Strictly No Crocs, written by new author Heather Pindar and illustrated by Susan Batori.
The engaging tale really appealed to the Madhouse kids and led on to lots of interesting discussions, which is always the sign of a great picture book, in my opinion. The basic premise is that Zebra is having a party and has invited everyone except the crocs. The Madhouse kids decided that this was unfair and that it's not very nice to exclude people from parties or playtime. We even talked about how they have felt at school when they've been pushed out and how they can make sure new children in their class don't feel left out.
But why add in one life lesson when you can include several ?! It turns out that the naughty crocs in the story only wanted to go along to eat all the other guests - cue another interesting discussion about bullies and how to deal with them. The crocs in the story are as cunning as they are naughty though so they dress up as other animals so that they can gatecrash the party.
Once they get there, they have so much fun that they forget all about their ulterior motives and just enjoy the party games ... as we did. I had to explain (and demonstrate of course !) what a conga was so we ended up doing the conga all around the house after we'd finished the story ! (So much for getting ready for bedtime !!)
On the way home, the crocs suddenly remember what they'd planned. As villains go, they are very cheeky and did make us laugh.
It's a riotous romp of a story that guarantees giggles but also some serious discussions about things that might be troubling young children, such as feeling left out at school and dealing with bullies. That makes it a definite winner in my eyes.
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £6.99
Disclosure : We received the book in order to write an honest review.