The Crocodile and the Scorpion
The Crocodile and the Scorpion
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Annotation: In a tale based on the classic fable, a crocodile and a scorpion--natural enemies--attempt to cross a river without giving in to their instincts.
Genre: Fairy tales
Catalog Number: #74886
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition Date: 2013
Pages: 32
Availability: Available (Limited Quantities Available / While Supplies Last)
ISBN: Publisher: 1-596-43494-5 Perma-Bound: 0-605-72664-7
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-596-43494-3 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-72664-2
Dewey: 398.2
LCCN: 2012046933
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Subject Heading:
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Bold, colorful torn- and cut-paper collage illustrations are the highlight of this tale, based on an ancient classic that exemplifies how difficult it is to go against our nature. When a purple and hot pink scorpion decides to cross the river, he requests aid from an avocado-green crocodile. The crocodile is leery at first since he knows the scorpion might sting him. But how silly is that? If the scorpion stings the crocodile, they would both drown since scorpions can't swim. So the crocodile agrees, and when the inevitable happens, both sink to the bottom, arguing all the way down. There is no author's note about the original tale, and the abrupt ending may leave children scratching their heads. This may be more suitable for older readers, who will more readily understand the tale's foregone conclusion. Younger children can enjoy perusing the bright pictures revealing a variety of perspectives.
Horn Book
A scorpion convinces a crocodile to give him a ride across the river, and, because it's his nature, stings him halfway across. The crocodile bites back, and the two continue to fight as they sink to the river bottom, where "you can hear them arguing still." Electric blues and greens predominate in a muddled retelling of an often-modified fable.
Kirkus Reviews
It's all about the squabble in this odd variation on a fable that usually, to clearer purpose, pairs a suicidal scorpion with either a hard-shelled turtle or a vulnerable frog. The narration begins by strenuously emphasizing the stupidity of both creatures--the crocodile's "brain was very small," the scorpion's "stinger was very sharp, but his mind was not," and then again: "They both had brains no bigger than a pebble." The tale puts the scorpion upon the crocodile's back for a river crossing after a mutual promise to refrain from stinging or biting. The scorpion can't restrain himself, though. This leads to a splashy battle and mutual recriminations that stretch on for four spreads, after which both sink to the bottom, where, instead of dying, "you can hear them arguing still…that is if someone has not settled the argument for them." With the color contrast among the green croc, the purple scorpion and the blue river dialed up to the max, the spiky cut- and torn-paper collage illustrations practically glow--but the two animals seem to lose track of each other and just float separately through the last several spreads. The authors provide no source note to the original tale. The usual morals about the consequences of treachery or the inflexibility of innate nature don't apply here in this uncharacteristically unsatisfying retelling. (Picture book/folk tale. 6-8)

Publishers Weekly
The Emberleys (The Ant and the Grasshopper) reinterpret a grim, lesser-known fable about two baddies whose natures come back to bite (and sting) them. From the get-go, the father-daughter team infuses the narrative with humor, introducing the protagonists in less than flattering terms: -They both had brains no bigger than a pebble, which did not serve them very well, as you will see.- Neither has any friends, since the scorpion is -always stinging things,- the crocodile is -always biting things,- and their victims -seem not to like that.- With good reason, readers will be skeptical when the characters promise not to sting or bite each other while the crocodile carries the scorpion across the river, and after giving into their impulses, each blames the other as they sink-permanently-to the river bottom. The Emberleys- angular, geometric cut-paper art is more static and less varied than some of their previous collaborations, and the ending (while true to the original) is abrupt. Still, there-s plenty of fun to be had watching these two Darwin Award contenders bring about their doom. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1&12; The Emberley duo's brilliant and bold cut-paper style perfectly suits this fable about a scorpion and a crocodile who agree to be friends though "neither of them had the slightest idea of what this really meant." The Emberleys give their readers a succinct and telling description of this unlikely pair, each a dangerous predator cursed with a pea-sized brain. The scorpion pitches the idea of friendship to the crocodile so that he can hitch a ride on his back across the river. Each swears that during the crossing they will not harm the other. Neither can manage to keep this promise and they sink to the bottom arguing about which of the two is to blame. This is an appealing fable about the perils of promises and the challenges of friendship. Educators will snap it up.&12; Jenna Boles, Greene County Public Library, Beavercreek, OH
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (12/1/13)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Horn Book (4/1/14)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (11/1/13)
Word Count: 403
Reading Level: 3.2
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.2 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 164188 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.3 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q62961
Lexile: AD620L

It's hard to make friends when you're always stinging or biting someone... Down by the great big, brilliant blue river, a not-so-bright crocodile and an equally pea-brained scorpion lived peacefully by themselves. One day, the scorpion realized he needed help getting across the river. Could they control their natural instincts long enough to make it across together? Rebecca and Ed Emberley offer a sprightly new twist on another classic tale with colorful artwork so bold and bright it snaps off the page.

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