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Croco'nile - Roy Gerrard We read this as part of our Egypt studies in history. I read it with a 1st, 3rd and 6th grader (to give background). Everyone enjoyed it, but this one is best read aloud, especially for the youngest. The story is written in free verse, so it is especially good as a read aloud, and can be used as part of your literature study (of course) in free verse.

Highlights of the story are two children become friends with a crocodile, go on adventures without the crocodile, excel in artistry of the time (sculpting and painting), get into a scrape with villains and then are rescued by their friend the crocodile in the end. Aside from the free verse aspect (loved that), I didn't find the plot of this one all that good. Our friend the crocodile was missing through all the story except the very beginning and the end yet got billing in the title. That the kids are saved by a creature usually reserved for the villain of tales, of course, is a nice touch. The plot touched on the flooding of the Nile annually, traveling by boat for trade and the art of the times, all great touches. The fact that both kids excelled and became masters of their craft with very little time seemed not great to me, probably because we had just studied the requirements to be an artist of the time in the great pyramids. People reading this for enjoyment only would likely pass over that aspect without a problem. It is, after all, a children's book with a crocodile hero.

The illustrations I didn't find all that wonderful in this one. They are more bland, not as vivid, though certainly not awful. They just didn't hold attention as well for my kids, a minor thing to note, especially if you are holding this book up in front of a class as a read aloud. They are not bright enough to be seen as well. All in all, a nice read though, good length, lyrical.