By: Joe Kulka
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Publication Date: January 2013
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: April 16, 2013
Cindy Lou’s nose was stuck high up in the air, almost as high as her dog Fifi’s. Everyone was bringing their pets to the “annual school pet show” and stood waiting around at the bus stop. No doubt Fifi the poodle would win over that cat and no way could she lose to a mere goldfish and frog. That is until Ernest showed up with some real competition. He had a crocodile, a BIG crocodile on a leash. “That’s the ugliest dog I ever saw!” Cindy Lou snarled at Ernest. She was worried that ugly dog would bite everyone. Not very likely because, Ernest claimed, “My crocodile does not bite.”
Ernest’s crocodile, Gustave, was very well-trained and with a snap of his fingers, he sat up and begged. The bus pulled up and Cindy Lou began to yap again, telling the bus driver that Ernest’s crocodile “will bite everybody!” Not very likely because, as Ernest said, “My crocodile does not bite.” Everyone tried to get on the bus, including the crocodile, but he was just a tad too big to fit through the door. Ernest and Gustave slithered this way and that as they made their way to school. “Stay away! That monster bites!” Mmmm, Cindy Lou thought Fifi was going to be the winner of the pet show, but would Gustave be able to steal the show?
This is an adorably hilarious tale of Gustave, the crocodile who didn’t bite. Cindy Lou, of course, is the mean gal that every school seems to have. Her pink poodle, Fifi, looks like a runaway winner even if she can’t do so much as a single trick. Everyone is in love with Ernest’s most unusually ugly dog, Gustave the crocodile. The twist at the end is very amusing and quite a satisfactory conclusion to the story. The artwork is lively and has great kid appeal with wide-eyed Gustave prancing through the pages. If you have a youngster who likes pets, especially highly unusual ones, you just might want to add this one to your list!
Quill says: This charming story is perfect for those who have annoying classmates ... gulp!