Microreview: The Gift of the Crocodile, retold by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Reynold Ruffins

The Gift of the Crocodile is a tale from Indonesia’s Spice Islands, retold by Judy Sierra and illustrated in vivid colour by Reynold Ruffins.

Why I like this book:

  • It’s a fairy (folk?) tale!
  • Damura, our protagonist, is more complicated than the standard Disney-type fare — no surprise there, as she is a folk tale hero
  • Damura makes mistakes as well as wise and compassionate choices
  • Damura’s espressions. Particularly in the scene where she sings to a baby crocodile. The song is perfect for reading aloud: just short enough to make improvising a tune easy; just long enough to tantalize the audience.
  • Grandmother Crocodile. I can hear her elderly voice, both cracked and sturdy and altogether authoritative.
  • The subtle echoes back to Damura’s dead mother. It is Grandmother Crocodile who gives Damura clothes and a carriage, and it is the dance steps Damura’s mother had taught her that entrance the prince.
  • The illustrations are vibrant with colour and life. The final page is so lovely. I hope the original is on the wall of a library somewhere, or in a gallery.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The domovoi’s gaze wandered, and his mouth drooped open. “I am weak,”  he slurred. “And the wood-guard is weak. Our enemy has loosened his chain. Soon he will be free. I cannot keep him out.” “Who is the enemy?” “Appetite,” said the domovoi again. “Madness. Terror. He wants to eat the world.” “How can I […]

The Doorway and the Deep – K. E. Ormsbee

The Doorway and the Deep – K. E. Ormsbee

Hardcover, 480 pages Expected publication: October 4th 2016 by Chronicle Books Source: Raincoast Books Cue rather hysterical laughter as Nafiza tries to get over that ending. *weeps* *regains composure* I’m okay. I think. As okay as you can be while dangling from a cliffhanger. Sniff. Deep breath. Let’s talk about The Doorway and the Deep.  […]

Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

Hardcover, 247 pages Published May 10th 2011 by Feiwel & Friends Source: Purchased “One ought not to judge her: all children are Heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb high trees and say shocking things and leap so very high grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite […]

At War with the Fae: The Whatnot (The Peculiar #2) by Stefan Bachmann

At War with the Fae: The Whatnot (The Peculiar #2) by Stefan Bachmann

Hardcover, 432 pages Published September 24th 2013 by Greenwillow Books Source: Purchased Pikey Thomas dreamed of plums and caramel apples the night the faery-with-the-peeling-face stole his left eye. I read the first novel in this duology a while ago–I say duology but the books can be read as standalones. The events of the first book […]