Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers: The Things She's Seen by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

The Quiet Crocodile Goes to the Beach

Fossil the Quiet Crocodile loves the beach. While his many friends float, paddle, bob, dive and boogie board, Fossil prefers to "contemplate the waves, look for shells, take a nap, enjoy the moment." Observation might suggest he isn't moving, but he is engaged in active pursuits like "teach[ing] his friends how to swim, how not to splash" and "how to kick." But there's something "gnawing" at Fossil, "bothering him, and stressing him out." Although it seems impossible for a giant, beach-loving crocodile, "Fossil is scared to go in the water." Thank goodness he is surrounded by friends, who encourage him with kindness--and floaties. As the tide creeps up, Fossil finds that he can face his fears and enjoy the ocean after all.

This follow-up to Andriamirado and Renon's first book about Fossil (The Quiet Crocodile) is endowed with even more charm and off-beat humor than the original. The text is straightforward and feels as if it's being delivered with an affectionate smile, and the detailed colored-pencil and pen illustrations manage to depict plenty of activity and an abiding sense of calm at the same time. The gentle, mostly stationary Fossil is joined by a large cast of active, personable animals, such as Fippo the Hippo and Sonny the Bunny, all of whom are introduced in the endpapers, each sporting elaborate beachwear. A note instructs readers to "find, name, and count all of [Fossil's] friends as they play in the water," as well as to look for additional specific "hidden" objects, including rings and racquets, a fishing net, some chewing gum and "the sparrow, aboard a tiny boat." Young readers will surely dive into the fun! --Lynn Becker, blogger and host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI