Crocodiles are the Best Animals of All by Sean Taylor
My daughter was given this book as a gift from family in Canada. While I have been able to find other titles by this author here in Australia at my local library and in stores, I have been unable to find this particular book. However, it does looks as though it can be purchased online.
If you are in Australia and do manage to find a copy of this book, it is well worth the read. Despite its lack of availability, I am still writing up a review because it is a fantastic book. It features a cast of favourite animals, has a wonderful rhyme and, above all, conveys an important message to children – self worth and appreciation.
The book is geared more towards the toddler audience, but is suitable for preschoolers also. My 4-year old daughter, however, seems to have grown a little distant to this book (much to my disappointment). I’m hoping my son will soon enjoy cuddling up with me over this story.
“‘Crocodiles are the best animals of all!’ announces a rather boastful crocodile. But can he swing through trees like an orang-utan, hop like a kangaroo, or climb like a mountain goat? Of course he can! But perhaps there is one thing he can’t do?”
Suitable for toddlers and preschool age children.
What I love about this book
What I love most about this book is the important message that it conveys – and does so in a light-hearted and fun way. Essentially, the take-away from this book is to love yourself (including your imperfections). It also deals with acknowledging that there will almost always be someone who is better at something than you, but that we all have our own skills and unique qualities. We should be embracing this. We don’t have to be the “best” to be valued in our community.
I also think it is important to note that the boastful crocodile (who is good at almost everything) is depicted as the minority. The majority of animals in the story are like the donkey – being “beaten” by the crocodile at numerous activities.
As adults, I’m sure we can all relate to knowing a “crocodile”-type personality in our lives….The message is applicable to both adults and to children.
The book is a lovely read with its sing-song rhyme.
The illustrations are also a great accompaniment to the story. They are a bit quirky (looks similar to what an early teenager might draw), but they are detailed, colourful and extremely engaging.
Storytime Tips and Activities
- Read this story with your child on your lap and act out some of what the animals are doing. For example, bounce the child up and down on your knee when you get to “I hop on my left foot. I hop on my right. I hop to an unbelievable height!”
- Try wiggling your ears with the donkey.
- Take the time to get your child to identify all the animals they see.
- Spend a bit of time on the illustrations and discuss what is going on in the background (eg rabbits mowing the lawn).
- Spend some extra time to discuss what happens when the crocodile can’t wiggle his ears. Reiterate more clearly to your child the message of self-worth and appreciating who you are, imperfections and all!