A few months ago I interviewed Denette Fretz about her upcoming book, I Want Your Smile, Crocodile. I'm happy to announce that her book now available! Link to buy book on Amazon
I am thrilled to be able to review this book on my blog as part of a four stop blog tour. (If you missed the first three installments, you will want to go back and read them! They are linked below, along with my original interview with Denette)
If you would like to win a copy of Denette's book, simply leave a comment on this entry of my blog. Post by May 20 at midnight EST, and on May 21, I will randomly select a winner.
And now for my thoughts about this beautiful book!
This book is full of heart and adorable humor, and is sure to become a family favorite. Yet behind all of its darlingness, it drives home a very important lesson for every reader, from the youngest child, to the oldest adult. We are designed in God's image, created for a purpose, and that makes us valuable! I love that Denette's book has this underlying seed of truth.
I know for me, it is easy to look at other people's talents and unique qualities and feel inferior, saying to myself "I wish I was more like _____." That is the exact struggle of the main character, Jack the meerkat.
The truth is that God does NOT want me to be like _____, he wants me to be ME! Living in the special way that he created me to live, and walking out my purpose on this earth. I got on a little soapbox there...
Back to the book!
In the book, Jack wishes that he could be...
- a crocodile,
- an elephant,
- a jellyfish,
- a chimpanzee,
- a porcupine,
- and a polar bear,
...imagining himself with each of their special qualities.
But, as he begins to "impersonate" each animal, there is always something that just doesn't... quite... work out. (Insert clever humor and delightful illustrations that complete the storyline).
Personally, my favorite instance was when he got a sore bottom from the spine of the porcupine and needed the ice of the polar bear! :)
There are other instances where the illustrations really "add depth" to the storyline.
- For example, the chimpanzees give Jack's swinging "ratings," as in a gymnastics competition.
- Jack's crocodile grin scares the crowd, and they flee in fearful desperation.
- The zookeeper is not mentioned, but he lovingly follows Jack to bring him home even though along the way he encounters quite a few personal injuries.
I was absolutely amazed at the clever word play and rhyme. As a writer, I know that this effect is very hard to achieve, and Denette's text packs a punch that fits the spunkiness of the character and the whimsical illustrations! Bravo!!
- Example: "Give me your swish, Jellyfish. I long to float the seas. I'd dive, I'd play, I'd glide, I'd sway, and twirl your dance with ease." Fretz's lyrical words "fit" with the natural movements that a jellyfish would make.
- She then transitions with, "nix the swish...I'm not a fish. I'm a sky kind of guy." Her word choice is perfect, and a great introduction to the chimpanzee scene.
I really enjoyed reading this book, and I believe this story will not only connect with kids of all ages, but also with the adults who read it.
Sneak peek inside: (You just can't help but fall in love with Jack!)
My original interview with Denette Fretz
Blog tour -- Interview with Denette by Glenys Nellist
Blog tour -- Read, Discuss, Do with Rebecca J. Gomez
Blog tour -- 6 extension activities with Laura Sassi
Remember, the give-away!
If you would like to win a copy of Denette's book, simply leave a comment on this entry of my blog by May 20 at midnight EST, and on May 21, I will randomly select a winner.
Denette Fretz's passion is creating imaginative, engaging stories that help children understand and apply biblical principles. A veteran elementary educator, Fretz resides in Medford, Oregon with her husband, a sassy cat, and a spastic Jack-A-Bee.
Denette, fantastic job! You have written an amazing book. I can see that it is a reflection of your beautiful heart. Best wishes to you!