You say you love picture books, but you’re ready to venture into chapter books? Look no further! Princess Cora and the Crocodile, a picture book-storybook hybrid, just arrived and features the best of both worlds. The reader will not be disappointed by the Newbery/Caldecott winning pair of Laura Amy Schlitz and Brian Floca.
My first grade students love to read and find new books. As with every class, some children are revved up more easily than others. I chose to read Princess Cora and the Crocodile aloud to my students, as I would with any picture book. Knowing that this story was structured in chapters, I was pleasantly surprised when one particular student begged for more upon each stopping place. Beyond that, he requested it at every transition.
“Are you going to read more of that crocodile book now?”
He couldn’t get enough! In fact, when I promised him that he could borrow the book from me when we were done, he would not let me forget.
“Mrs. Brown, can I take that book home to read now?”
What warms my heart the most is that this child had not begged for more reading all year long until Princess Cora came along. That’s a strong testament to the quality of this story. As writers, we must reach our readers. That’s what it’s all about. And when we reach the ones that need it most, we’ve achieved the most meaningful connection. It’s an award of the heart.
Therefore, I am delighted to release a few student reviews first.
And now for mine:
With the winning Newbery/Caldecott pairing of Laura Amy Schlitz and Brian Floca behind Princess Cora and the Crocodile, there’s no where to go but up. Soothing pastel watercolor illustrations bring each page to life, amp up the action, and relay emotions at every turn. It was a real treat to have a true picture book meshed into a chapter book. And the story didn’t give up a single moment. Each character personality shines through with authentic dialog. Schlitz does a masterful job of helping the reader empathize with main character Princess Cora’s predicament. Princess Cora is faced with rigorous book study, three baths each day, and grueling physical fitness meant for shaping her into a proper princess. But with so much princess prep, she has no time left for fun, relaxation, or desires. Enter the unexpected. A crocodile may not have been what Princess Cora had in mind but it’s exactly what the reader craves: Humor, unpredictability, and recklessness. A recipe for a story that children will beg to reread.
Thank you, Candlewick Press, for allowing us to review this title!
Princess Cora and the Crocodile
by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Brian Floca
Candlewick Press, March 2017
Have you read a picture book-storybook hybrid lately?