Before going any further I should admit that I’m re-reading this book right now sighing with recognition; as a parent who just wants a little bit of piece and quiet, but with children rushing around thinking they’ve got the latest, greatest idea for having fun, and who just cannot understand why I don’t find their games (jumping out at me, sneaking up on me, making a racket) just as enjoyable as they do… I think this review is going to reflect my current end of half-term (holiday) weariness!
All Solomon (a rather handsome crocodile) wants to do is have fun, whether it’s splashing through mud or charging at hippos. But unfortunately for poor Solomon, those around him do not enjoy his high jinks. Rather they snap at Solomon for being a nuisance, a pest, for being trouble. Poor Solomon! All he wants to do is play.
After several failed attempts at fun Solomon hears a familiar noise… Who is bugging the dragonflies? Who has the storks in flap? Could it be that double trouble is on the horizon?
Kids will love the playfulness, the naughtiness and the idea of having a partner in crime. Adults (or at least those who’ve played their hearts out all holidays and now just want to have some time alone!) will empathise with the harried river residents Solomon sneaks up on in his quest to have fun. Everyone will love the dazzling, bold illustrations for which Rayner is well known.
Some readers may be disappointed this story doesn’t take a more upright moral stance on Solomon’s at-best-mischievous-at-worst-annoying behaviour, others might say this book is more about observation than sermonizing. Solomon may be a rather rascally little crocodile but he’s one, drawn with great charm, that has found a place in our hearts!
Inspired by Rayner’s beautiful, highly textured drawings of Solomon we wanted to create our own scaly creatures. The girls used ink and cotton buds to draw outlines of their animals (mostly snakes and dinosaurs) and then sprinkled wax crayon shavings inside their bodies.
I placed a piece of baking paper over their drawings and ironed the wax shavings, which melted creating mottled scales. The girls then filled up their animals with watercolour washes.
A final touch was using gold and silver pens to add highlights to the scales – just as is done on the very alluring front cover of Solomon Crocodile.
Our artwork complete, it was hung in our favourite gallery (aka the kitchen).
The texture is something best appreciated up close!
Whilst painting we listened to:
Other fun activities that would work well alongside this book include:
What’s your favourite crocodile book? What do you feel about picture books which don’t take a principled stand against “bad” behaviour? Should naughtiness always be commented upon if we want to use books as a way to explore appropriate behaviour with kids?
Disclosure: Solomon Crocodile was provided to me gratis by the publisher. This review, however, reflects my own and honest opinion.