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The Enormous Crocodile - Roald Dahl

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Author: Roald Dahl / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 04 September 2008 / Genre: Picture Books / Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd / Title: The Enormous Crocodile / ISBN 13: 9780141501765 / ISBN 10: 0141501765 / Alternative EAN: 9780141311524

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      27.08.2013 20:32
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      The Enormous crocodile

      A crunchingly golloping tale.

      We recently came back from holiday and one of the toys we found for my little boy was an Enormous crocodile puppet toy. It brought back really nice memories of the book as I used to love it as a kid and really wanted to read it to my kids so I purchased it from Amazon for only a couple of pounds.

      From the back of the book we are told, "The Enormous Crocodile boasts that he is going to eat a child for lunch and he sets out to trick all the children in his attempts for food. But his plots and disguises are foiled by the animals in the jungle - especially by Trunky, the elephant."

      The story is actually a bit scary in the end as Trunky the elephant kills the crocodile by swinging him around in the air by his tail and letting him go until he flies into the sky and crashes into the sun! Quite a scary way to go.

      The enormous crocodile is a horrible green creature with a massive mouth and lots of sharp pointy teeth. He really does look quite menacing and scary although he doesn't frighten my kids which is good. I think when I read this to my kids they do see it as a story but do have a bit of horror and entertainment. now, we often go running around the house with the stuffed puppet toy, quoting the book, saying, "I'm going to eat you and things like that!"

      Of course, and shame on you if you didn't know this, but the book is written by the amazing Roald Dahl, one of my favourite children's authors ever. I grew up reading his stories (The Twits being my all time favourite) and I want my kids to grow up reading him too.

      According to an article I read, "Roald Dahl was born in Wales of Norwegian parents. His books continue to be bestsellers after his death in 1990, and total sales are now over 100 million worldwide!"

      The enormous crocodile is illustrated by Quentin Blake and as well as the amazing words, its his wonderful pictures that really bring the crocodile to life. he is instantly recognisable and the pictures have such a unique d fun look to them. The children are drawn as quite scraggily looking creatures but this is the appeal for me of his figures, they all have a bit of a funny, cartoon look to them but are still real looking kids.
      All in all a great children's book that I definitely recommend.

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      11.04.2012 13:03
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      Ideal for reading anywhere and at anytime

      This book I picked up from the local library to read to the younger siblings for bedtime.

      The book cover is colourful but not with too much colour and it only says little about the story inside which builds up excitement for the story and makes you want to read it straight away.

      The adventure starts with the enormous crocodile talking to another crocodile in the river about wanting to eat "a fat juicy little child" for lunch. The other crocodile had a different opinion so the enormous crocodile started his journey on his own.
      On his trail he bumps into many other individual animals and in his conversations he quotes that he has secret plans and clever tricks" and delievers a personal poem. Each animal listens to a different poem delievered and offers the crocodile different answers, but the crocodile insits the answer is the same for all the poems- "a fat juicy little child"! And each animal tells the crocodile that it's horrible.
      By the time the enormous crocodile reaches the place where children wil be found, he camoflauges himself to fool the innocent children. Each time he camoflauged himself and a group of children found him without realising it, an animal from the enormous crocodile's journey saves the children just in time.

      But is there enough animals from his travels to save the innocent children from the evil crocodile?
      Will the enormous crocodile run out of clever tricks?
      Or will one animal put the naughty crocodile in his lace before he can eat his "fat juicy little child"?

      An amazing story from the world's best storyteller for the younger generation.

      By buying this book, 10% of profits are donatedto the Roald Dahl Charities:-
      - roalddahlfoundation.org
      - roalddahlmuseum.org

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        28.12.2011 13:31
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        A children's classic from a master story-teller

        Following what I am trying to establish as a family tradition, I celebrated the arrival of my recently-arrived first grand-daughter by giving her a copy of The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl. My two grand-nephews were greeted into the world with the same volume. She is, of course, as they were at the time, a little too young as yet to read it for herself, but I don't believe it's ever too early to acquaint new generations with great literature. I have no doubt that my elder son, her father, will lose no time in reading it to her, since it was the book he most enjoyed having read to him when he was an infant.

        All the same, you may be thinking: 'great literature' - isn't that rather overstating it? Maybe that depends on whether you believe any story written for children can properly be regarded as great. I see no reason why it shouldn't be, and The Enormous Crocodile is about as good as a story written for children can get. The plot is cleverly conceived, as is the narrative structure, while the descriptive writing is vivid, witty and easily comprehended by those in the target age-group, which is 4-8. Add in the superbly complementary illustrations by Quentin Blake and the book is just about faultless. You can even read deeper interpretations into it if you have a mind to do so, though I don't suppose many younger readers will bother.


        * "In the biggest brownest muddiest river in Africa..." *

        The scene having thus been set, the story opens with two crocodiles discussing the pressing question of what to eat for lunch. The Enormous Croc (EC from here on) favours a nice juicy child, whilst the Notsobig one prefers fish. "Children are bigger than fish," declares the EC conclusively. "You get bigger helpings." What is more, he goes on to explain, he has devised "secret plans and clever tricks" to help him ensnare a suitable prey for his feast, and with this he sets off on his quest through the jungle. On his way he encounters Humpy-Rumpy the hippopotamus, Trunky the elephant, Muggle-Wump, the monkey and a flamboyantly-feathered creature known simply as the Roly-Poly Bird. To each in turn he outlines his prandial plans, and is not in the least disconcerted to find them met with disapproval. The EC is decidedly a croc with attitude, and a bit of aggro along the way only serves to sharpen his appetite.

        Arriving eventually at the outskirts of a village, he begins to put his "secret plans and clever tricks" into practice, disguising himself first as a coconut palm, next as a see-saw, then as part of a fairground carousel, and finally as a bench in the picnic area, in each case hoping to lure a child close enough to eat. In every case, however, he is thwarted by the intervention of the other animals who have followed him through the jungle, and his potential victims escape being eaten. Not only is the EC thus deprived of his well-earned lunch, but the elephant takes the law into its trunk by seizing the EC by the tail, whirling him round to build up momentum and slinging him up, up, up and into the sun, where he is "sizzled up like a sausage".

        (Sorry if this outline 'spoils' the story by revealing its ending, but parents might like to be warned in advance of this sad outcome, whereas children won't mind knowing, to judge from the example of my own sons who could practically recite the whole book word for word after repeated readings but still demanded more.)


        * "You horrid greedy grumptious brute" *

        What a wonderful word "grumptious" is, though "gollop" is arguably even better, a word so onomatopoeic as to be self-explanatory. One hardly needs the context "I'll gulp her up easily in one gollop" to understand its meaning, and children certainly don't need such words explained. Dahl frequently uses words of his own coinage, and almost always to more telling effect than could have been achieved with more conventional alternatives. Not that his use of conventional language leaves anything to be desired; for example, would it be possible to improve on "the Enormous Crocodile grinned again, and his terrible sharp teeth sparkled like knives in the sun"? I don't think so. Dahl's vocabulary is both accessible and bright as a crocodile tooth. What's more, children respond to it instinctively.

        His wit helps, of course. The dialogue in The Enormous Crocodile is full of sharp exchanges between the EC and the other animals; his mastery of repartee is on a par with that of the Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. Making these exchanges entertaining in themselves also helps Dahl with the pace and structure of the narrative, allowing him to extend the initial phase of the story without it becoming tedious, drawing out the suspense and at the same time introducing the other characters that are going to play a role in the eventual denouement. There is a neat symmetrical balance between the EC's progress through the jungle and the later reappearance of the creatures he meets to frustrate his intentions. Dahl has clearly employed a secret plan and clever trick or two of his own in his skilful story-telling.


        * Quentin Blake's illustrations... *

        ...are a delight. Colourful, evocative, cartoonish in the best sense, and reflecting perfectly the tone as well as the substance of the story. In particular, the EC himself is beautifully drawn, seemingly with the utmost simplicity, but with a glint in his eye that conveys his character and his changing moods as the story unfolds.


        * Scary stuff? *

        This is a tale about a ferocious and cunning predator seeking to trick, catch and then eat children. One might perhaps expect young children to be a little frightened when imagining such a prospect, but in my experience that simply isn't the case. On the contrary, they enjoy the sinister and threatening aspects of the story, perhaps as a way of coming to terms with the thought of such threats while they themselves are in an unthreatening environment. It probably helps that the story is told with humour, and is amusingly illustrated, but most of all it helps that the EC is strangely sympathetic, coming across as more mischievous than truly villainous in character. One can't help feeling a little sorry for him, especially when he meets his tragic fate in the conclusion.


        * 'His tragic fate' *

        An old friend of mine well-versed in literature takes the view that the EC is simply "betrayed by lesser minds", but it seems to me that his tragedy is of a more classical variety, with hubris bringing about his nemesis. He could be regarded as a bungler, since he wilfully alienates his fellow-creatures, who might have been neutral bystanders or even allies. Why, after all, should they be on the side of the children? Had the EC gone about his child-hunting in a sneaky and underhand way, keeping his own counsel, he might have proved successful, but this would have ill-fitted his self-image as a proto-hero. His braggartry does not come from bungling indiscretion, but is intended almost as a rallying-cry to his jungle-fellows to assert themselves against the thrall in which they are held by humans, while their failure to respond reflects not just their cravenness but also their resentment of his superiority, without which he would have been unable to lead the way in the first place. His fatal weakness is an intrinsic component of his heroic strength, an essential element of all great tragedy.

        All of which you are free to take seriously or not, just as you choose. I have to admit that my own kids, when young, seemed not much interested in discussing this aspect of the story, but did enjoy considering the events from the EC's, as well as from the children's, viewpoint.


        * The Enormous Crocodile... *

        ...is available in paperback from Puffin Books, 40 beautifully illustrated pages including covers, at a recommended retail price of £6.99, though you can of course find it more cheaply on the internet, and probably in some bookshops. Even at full price, it's a bargain, since it will give endless, educational pleasure to any child. Dahl was a great writer, with a unique ability to stimulate and appeal to children's imaginations, and I believe this to be the best of his output for younger children. I can't wait for my grand-daughter to be old enough to have it read to her.


        © Also published under the name torr on Ciao UK, 2011.

        For an assessment of The Enormous Crocodile's place among other great books for children, see:
        www.dooyoo.co.uk/discussion/top-ten-childrens-books/1144821/

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          25.04.2011 20:45
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          A great short tale from Roald Dahl about an ambitious croc that wants to eat some children!

          Initially, my son didn't want me to read The Enormous Crocodile to him tonight. In fact, he said 'I just don't like Roald Dahl books!' The thing is, he loves them, a point proven by the fact that he was riveted all the way through reading the very book he swore he didn't want me to read to him! Roald Dahl has that effect on kids, he certainly did when I was young, as not only was I riveted when someone read them to me, but as soon as I was able to read longer books and my attention span allowed me to do so, Dahl was one of my favourite authors.

          The Enormous Crocodile is one of the shorter books he has written, and since its first publication in 1978, hasn't aged a bit. It still retains all of the entertainment I remember from when I last read it, and I have enjoyed reading it out loud just as much as I enjoyed reading it to myself and indeed having it read to me. At a mere 40 pages or so, and with the majority of that being illustrations as opposed to text, I suppose it took me about half an hour to read. I took my time, and my son was next to me in his bed before the first page was finished.

          The story starts off with two crocodiles in a river, one of them being enormous. He's telling the other crocodile all about how he has concocted this marvellous plan to make children his latest favourite meal. As he sets off, he can't resist telling all the other animals in the jungle just exactly what he's going to do, boasting and then trying to scare them as well. However, as he gets to where all the children are, he finds that the animals he has been boasting to aren't about to just lie down and let him carry on.

          I think it's important to know that the children don't actually get eaten. Roald Dahl does have a tendency to be quite dark, in fact it's one of the selling points of his books. However, anyone thinking of reading this to their kids is naturally going to be worried about reading a book at bedtime about a crocodile successfully plotting to eat kids - it'd be the stuff of nightmares! Instead, Dahl gives us a tale where the villain is thwarted, and despite some quite bold language about bone crunching and squishing kids (which is how the croc imagines it'll be) it's all very entertaining as opposed to being scary.

          Dahl also makes sure it's quite funny in places, with the thwarting by the other animals being amusing in places, and even the crocodile's character being portrayed in a comical way. The way the speech is laid out means that, as you're reading it out to your kids, you just can't help add particular voices to the various animals and put emphasis on certain words where it's deserved. It's so well written. The ending is quite surreal though, and quite sudden. I was wondering where the moral to the story was going to come from, before realising it wasn't, and but my son was nonplussed, and quite enjoyed how it ended. Job done.

          As ever, this Dahl book is excellently illustrated by Quentin Blake. Usually, Blake only has an illustration every few pages or so, but here he has quite a lot on each page, and needs to incorporate the crocodile in various different guises, from being a see-saw to pretending to be a coconut tree and also a bench. The way this is done is very good, and the use of pastel colours allows the illustrations and text to blend into each other on the page and not make the contours seem harsh. I thought it was excellently done.

          Overall then, despite what I thought was a rather abrupt ending, there's nothing I can fault about this short story kids' tale from Roald Dahl. We now have a rather large collection of his books, and while some of the longer ones are a bit harder for our 7 year old to maintain focus with, he likes hopping around between them all and is rarely bored when reading them or having them read to him. The Enormous Crocodile retails at £5.99, and although it's rather short, it's a great thing to have as an addition to your Dahl collection or even to start it off. Recommended.

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            01.09.2009 17:27
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            Great childrens book

            Roald Dahl was, as most children and adults know, an author of some note and merit. His books and stories for adults and children are cleverly written, dark and often surprisingly sinister - he is responsible for some very frightening characters and unsettling stories. They also have a humour to them, something edgy, almost naughty about them. To this day I can remember the plot and characters of every Dahl book I have read; given the amount I have read this is quite an achievement for any one author. I remember this one with particular fondness and I bought it as much for myself as for my daughter.


            ***Story***

            The Enormous Crocodile is bored with fish and comes up with some 'secret plans and clever tricks' in order to add children to his diet. He sets off for the local town and meets four other animals on the way who he frightens as he hints at his horrible plans (lots of bits about bone crunching and squishing). Once at the town he makes four attempts at gobbling up children by disguising himself as a tree, a see-saw, a carousel animal and finally a bench. Each plan is thwarted by one of the animals he met on the way to the town, ending with him being thrown into the sun by the elephant and being sizzled up like a sausage.


            ***Illustrations***

            This book, like many of Dahl's books is illustrated by the superb Quentin Blake. His pictures are full of movement, colour and life, a perfect complement to the prose on the page. The expressions on the faces of the characters are fantastic, it is amazing what Blake can convey in just the raising of an eyelid or the turn of a scaly lip!

            ***Opinion***

            We love this book and read it at least once a week. Even though it is quite long (takes me about 20 minutes to read from cover to cover) it is ideal for our four year old as a transition between picture books and books for slightly older children with fewer illustrations. The language is fantastic as Dahl peppers the book with not just made-up words ('mushious', 'grumptious') but little-used words such as 'gollop' and 'beastly'. The different animals are just crying out to be read in different voices and much of the gruesome language virtually forces you to add scary inflections to your voice. Words and sentences are repeated for each of the scenarios which makes it all flow together nicely and makes it easy for young children to follow. The repeated thwarting of the crocodile also means that there is plenty of tension and excitement as the crocodile sets up another clever plan and almost, almost gets the children each time before being rumbled.

            I was a little nervous that my daughter would find it frightening because the story is quite bloodthirsty and the thought of a clever, child-eating crocodile gave me the willies as a child. Thankfully because the children were saved every time and the crocodile comes to a rather unpleasant end, as well as Dahl's use of humour throughout this becomes a merely slightly dark and mildly scary story rather than full on frightening.


            ***Price***

            This book comes in several different versions. I personally prefer the smaller version at 64 pages and £4.99 as it looks more like a book for older children. The larger size version at 32 pages and £6.99 is also available, as well as audio versions, hardcover versions, older versions, cheaper versions online etc etc etc.

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              24.05.2008 22:06
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              a great kids story from the master

              This is a great book but it used to scare me as a small child of around 3, but as i got older i learned to really appreciate it.

              It was first published in 1978 written by Roald Dahl one of my favorite children's authors when i was a kid ,and the book was illustrated by Quentin Blake i always really liked his artwork on children's books though it was quite a unique style.

              The story is about a giant horrible crocodile who tries to trick children so that he can eat them, for instance in one case he pretends to be an animal on a meri go round so that a child will sit on him and he can eat them. Luckily though all the other animals in the forest are always close at hand to save the day and warn the children about the dastardly crocs ambitions.

              It is a very happy ending for the children but not for the enormous crocodile though as the big strong elephant comes along and swings the reptile round and round with his trunk and throws him into the sun never to be seen again.

              It is a unique story and i still really love it!, when i have kids i probably will be reading great Roald Dahl stories like this one to them in the future.

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                21.07.2000 19:50
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                The enormous crocdile is a perfect book for children who are learning to read more independently. the book is superb, very interesting and will keep the readers attention for hours. It is a book that is short enough for younger readers to mangage but long enough to convince them they are reading an advanced book. The enormous crocodile tells the story of how a crocodile leaves his home in the jungle to find dinner in the nearby town. It follows thye crodile and the tricks he does to rty and get the children near him to eat them. great book - if you haven't read it yet, i advise you do!!!

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                17.07.2000 21:53

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                The Enormous Crocodile is shorter than Roald Dahl's other books but don't let this put you off buying it for a child aged about six to eight. This story is one best read aloud as the story benefits from an interactive audience.In my experience children will return to this book again and again and demand that it be read in exactly the same way as on previous occasions - woe betide anybody who tries to skip pages in order to reach bedtime earlier!

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            • Product Details

              This crocodile has an enormous appetite and boasts that he is going to eat a nice juicy child for lunch. Fortunately for the children, the other animals in the jungle see through the crocodile's cunning disguises.