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Sunday, May 13, 2018


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)

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.  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. 

About the author:
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!


  1. I love the message that we are perfect as is but I think the silliness of picturing Jack as different animals will really appeal to my boys.

  2. Love to win this for my little one!!!

  3. This looks like a great book for my girls and has a wonderful message! Becki Burke

  4. How adorable!!! I love the message of this book... one that kids and moms can relate to! Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

  5. I’d love to win a copy for my 4 year old!

  6. My kids would certainly love it. Do you ship overseas?

  7. I certainly would love to read this to my kids! They need to hear these lessons and what better way to do it than through such a charming book?!�� (My mom would ship to me.)

  8. This book sounds so special! If I win, I would send the book to my four beloved grandchildren on the other side of the world!

  9. This looks like an awesome book and my kids will love it!!

    1. You are the lucky winner! I just need an address so I can send it to you. My email is in my profile.

  10. Awesome of you to give away this great sounding book! If I win it will be a gift to my daughter.

  11. This sounds wonderful! I love to read clever rhyming stories. Best of luck with your new book!

  12. I love the message behind this book. Important to teach to our children to love yourself. Some adults need this lesson as well. I would love to win a copy to read to my children.

  13. I would love a book like this for the kids! I’ve become so picky about the books they read. There’s so many that are sending bad messages through cute cartoons. They need more positive impacts.

  14. A message we can all take to heart--whether adult or child. wishing we could be someone else can be a difficult thing to overcome and I do believe your book gives some wonderful clues!