Jonathan London and Paul Morin team up to offer a fascinating and sympathetic view of a dangerous—and endangered—species, the American crocodile.
Crocodile silently glides through a salty mangrove swamp. She searches for a place on the sandy bank, a place safe from predators. Digging, she scoops out a nest and lays forty eggs. Maybe five will survive to grow to adulthood, when they will face a new and more dangerous predator—humankind. Paul Morin’s dramatic oil paintings and Jonathan London’s powerful words capture the ferocity and the vulnerability of the American crocodile as she cares for her young. Endnotes provide even more intriguing facts about one of America’s most elusive endangered species. Now with its companion book—Panther: Shadow of the Swamp—Crocodile: Disappearing Dragon will transport readers to the beautiful, fragile Florida Everglades.
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Jonathan London’s keen interest in and commitment to the natural world are reflected in many of his most popular books for children. He says, "I was led to research and write about crocodiles because as a child I often glided in a boat among the mangroves and imagined them lurking nearby."
Paul Morin is an internationally recognized artist, as well as an accomplished musician and worldwide traveler. Paul Morin traveled through the Florida Everglades before illustrating CROCODILE. "The deeper into the swamp I went, the more I felt I was going back to a time when ancient reptiles ruled both land and water."
Ages 6-8. This picture book combines basic information about the life cycle of the endangered American crocodile with a simple story that indicates why there are only 400 to 500 left in the Florida Everglades. The account begins with a female crocodile, stalked by humans, that mates and later that spring lays her eggs in the sandy bank. In midsummer, they hatch and she helps them into the water. One night, a light sweeps across the water; a man shoots at the crocodile, climbs from his boat, and wades into the water. When the crocodile thrashes her tail and snaps her jaws, the man flees. Morin's impressionist paintings, which portray the setting as mysterious and somewhat menacing, are best seen from a little distance. Light is beautifully rendered, color is sensitively handled, and the varied thickness and texture of the oil paint on canvas lend another dimension to the pictures. The last two pages carry a map of southern Florida and more information about the animals. A dramatic and visually dynamic introduction to the species. Carolyn Phelan
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