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Where crocodiles have wings /

A rhyming tale describing a magical place where surprises grow on trees and crocodiles have wings. Full description

Main Author:
Other Authors: Barner, Bob,
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Holiday House, 2005
Edition: First edition.
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Can you imagine a place where spiders dance, camels knit socks, and zebras play hockey? You don't have to play make-believe any longer. Here, told in delightful rhyming verse by Patricia C. McKissack, and illustrated with bright and lively paper collages by Bob Barner, is a story that tells of a magical place where surprises grow on trees and crocodiles have wings.

Review by Booklist Review

K-Gr. 2. As the title and cover art imply, this rhyming fantasy describes a very magical place. Discovered by a young boy when he slides down an elephant's trunk to meet a friend, it's a place where bumblebees fish / And peacocks wish / Upon a starry bouquet / While hippos prance / And spiders dance. The nighttime adventure is less a story than a string of imaginative flights of fancy, with the boy eventually landing back in bed. Barner's large, flat, cut- and torn-paper shapes, bordered in thick, black lines, provide colorful, whimsical images to go with the words. This is a far cry from McKissack's top-notch books reflecting ethnic culture; it's a mishmash of creatures with incongruous traits, fanciful but fairly frivolous. Give this to teachers looking for a book to inspire kids to create their own idiosyncratic animals. --Julie Cummins Copyright 2005 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

McKissack (Precious and the Boo Hag) presents a fanciful bedtime rhyme: "There's a once-upon-a-place/ in time and space/ where surprises grow on trees/ And crocs have wings." Barner (Dem Bones) depicts the imaginary animals cavorting in a universe studded with '60s-style stars and flowers. He draws the verses together by casting a boy in plaid pajamas in the role of modeling the activities of the poem, tracing his course through full-bleed spreads with a dotted line. Collages built of simple shapes cut from bright solids and prints, heavily outlined in ink, and mounted on fields of contrasting colors bring kinetic energy to McKissack's verses. "Coyotes sneeze/ And chickens wheeze/ Whenever the seasons/ change." Here, a gray rice-paper coyote with a long, pointy snout tries to stifle a sneeze with a handkerchief, but not before scattering a flock of chickens. A turtle sports a patchwork shell ("Where/ Turtles go fast/ never come last/ And win all the races they're in") and a smiling King of the Beasts strums a guitar ("A roaring mouse/ A lizard's house/ Or a lion who writes pretty love songs"). "Remember what to do," McKissack concludes, "Touch your toes/ Wiggle your nose/ and open a favorite book." Saucy images and rhythmic language await children who enter this alluring world. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-In this muddled picture book, readers are told that "There's a once-upon-a-place/in time and space/where surprises grow on trees/And crocs have wings." Unfortunately, the text never makes clear exactly what this place is, or why anyone would want to go there. The book simply lays out a bizarre and plodding description of a land where "Coyotes sneeze/And chickens wheeze/Whenever the seasons/change--/And bears lay eggs/With two good legs/For running in marathons." At the end, there is a brief nod to the power of the imagination, as youngsters are instructed to "Touch your toes/Wiggle your nose/and open a favorite book-." Unfortunately, the world that this book depicts is one in which bouncy rhyme schemes are picked up and inexplicably dropped in the space of a single page, and in which meter is halting, jolting, and inconsistent. Also, some of the busy, cut-paper collage illustrations do not depict what is described in the text. Stick with McKissack's more successful titles, such as Precious and the Boo Hag (S & S, 2005), and skip this offering.-Rachael Vilmar, Atlanta Fulton Public Library, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Patricia C. McKissack was born in Smyrna, Tennessee on August 9, 1944. She received a bachelor's degree in English from Tennessee State University in 1964 and a master's degree in early childhood literature and media programming from Webster University in 1975. After college, she worked as a junior high school English teacher and a children's book editor at Concordia Publishing.

Since the 1980's, she and her husband Frederick L. McKissack have written over 100 books together. Most of their titles are biographies with a strong focus on African-American themes for young readers. Their early 1990s biography series, Great African Americans included volumes on Frederick Douglass, Marian Anderson, and Paul Robeson. Their other works included Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African-American Whalers and Days of Jubilee: The End of Slavery in the United States. Over their 30 years of writing together, the couple won many awards including the C.S. Lewis Silver Medal, a Newbery Honor, nine Coretta Scott King Author and Honor awards, the Jane Addams Peace Award, and the NAACP Image Award for Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman?. In 1998, they received the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

She also writes fiction on her own. Her book included Flossie and the Fox, Stitchin' and Pullin': A Gee's Bend Quilt, A Friendship for Today, and Let's Clap, Jump, Sing and Shout; Dance, Spin and Turn It Out! She won the Newberry Honor Book Award and the King Author Award for The Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural in 1993 and the Caldecott Medal for Mirandy and Brother Wind. She dead of cardio-respiratory arrest on April 7, 2017 at the age of 72.

(Bowker Author Biography)

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