By: Bridget Heos
Illustrated by: Stephane Jorisch
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Publication Date: March 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 2012
If you’re a crocodilian parent-to-be, a crocodile, alligator, caiman, or gharial, and are uncertain about how to take care of your babies, this book will answer many of your parenting questions. Crocodiles and alligators certainly don’t want to be considered part of the same family tree, but they have to accept the fact that they are. When the babies first hatch they will be small and helpless and the perfect snack for critters like raccoons or monitor lizards. Hatchlings can be tasty snacks so parents will have to be on the alert. Not to worry though because “your babies will grow fast.”
First things first and members of the crocodilian family will need to know where to lay their eggs. Some like the American and Australian crocs need to lay their eggs near a saltwater source while others need freshwater. For those who lay their eggs in nests the specs are given, but some like the gharials “dig a sandy hole instead.” Of course the expectant mother should follow a diet and forget about being dainty and “Swallow the meat and the bones.” Calcium will make those shells hard. You’ll also learn about how to guard the eggs, how the babies grow inside the shells, what will happen when the eggs are ready, how to move the hatchlings to water, and you’ll learn many other interesting things about crocodilian parenting skills.
The picture book format and the slightly zany and amusing text will keep even the most reluctant reader interested in learning about the life cycle of crocodilian hatchlings. This is an excellent example of new nonfiction that presents a lot of factual material, but makes it easy to absorb and read. For example, the young student will learn who some of the members of the crocodilian family are, their habitats, nesting habits, predators, how the hatchlings grow, what determines the sex, etc. The artwork is delightfully charming, vibrant, and amusing. In the back of the book is a detailed glossary and additional recommended book and website resources to explore. There are complimentary educational resources for educators on the publisher’s website.
Quill says: This is a fun way for children to learn about how crocodilians take care of their hatchlings.