Cover image for I, Crocodile
I, Crocodile
Marcellino, Fred.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Harper Collins, 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
When a Nile crocodile is brought back to Paris by the Emperor Napoleon, it must not only struggle to get enough to eat, but escape from being eaten, too!
General Note:
"Michael di Capua books."

"Inspired by a nineteenth century satire by an unknown French author...."
Reading Level:
AD 300 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.9 0.5 36399.

Reading Counts RC K-2 1.7 2 Quiz: 19367 Guided reading level: NR.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



While robbing Egypt's mummies, sphinxes, and palm trees, Napoleon can't resist bringing home a souvenir crocodile as well. All Paris is enchanted with this exotic creature. But for a crocodile with an appetite as big as his ego, being the toast of the town has its downside, too. What's a crocodile who's used to a dinner of flamingo, snake, or mongoose to make of chocolate mousse? Oh, to return to his beloved Nile! But fickle Napoleon has other plans for our hero...

Inspired by an obscure nineteenth-century French satire, I, Crocodile is the first book Fred Marcellino has written as well as illustrated.

2000 ALA Notable Children's Book
1999 New York Times Best Illustrated Book

2000-2001 Georgia's Picture Storybook Award & Georgia's Children's Book Award Masterlist

2000 ALA Notable Children's Books

Author Notes

Fred Marcellino, October 25, 1939 - July 12, 2001 Fred Marcellino was born October 25, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York. In 1960, he graduated from Cooper Union with a degree in painting and proceeded to Venice to study for a year. He specialized in creating art for album covers, but in 1975 switched to designing exclusively for book covers.

Marcellino was contracted by such publishers as Random House, Simon and Schuster, Knopf and Houghton Mifflin. He produced over forty book covers in a ten year period and then stopped to produce his own books, children's stories which he illustrated himself.

In 1990, Marcellino received a Caldecott Honor for his illustration of "Puss in Boots." In 1999, his book "I, Crocodile," was one of the New York Times' Best Illustrated Children's Books.

Fred Marcellino died on July 12, 2001 at the age of 61 from colon cancer.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. Inspired by a nineteenth-century satire, Marcellino makes his writing debut in a tale that introduces a crocodile who goes from snoozing along the Nile to being the toast of Paris. The crocodile tells his own story, focusing on how much he loves to eat. As a descendant of the gods of ancient Egypt, this scaly egotist feels he deserves the good life he's living. But on August 17, 1799, his world is turned upside down: Napoleon appears, taking mummies, art--and the crocodile--to Paris. At first, the crocodile is a great attraction, then he's yesterday's news. Finally, he escapes down the sewers of Paris, grabbing any wayward humans he finds. The story line is sometimes thin, but the crocodile's boastful, ebullient voice covers most of the bare spots. The good-looking art, on the other hand, overflows with humor. Marcellino mixes up the design: there's a panoramic scene on one spread, three distinct episodes on another. In the center of it is a picture of the hard-to-resist crocodile, who can get as much out of an eye roll as Groucho Marx. Amusing and fun. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

This first picture book that Marcellino (Puss in Boots) has both written and illustrated is a piŠce de r‚sistance. According to the witty green narrator of this singular tale, Egypt was a paradise until "(to be precise) August 17, 1799." That day, Napoleon spoils the crocodile's bulrush idyll. Seated on a white steed, the emperor orders his troops, "Mummies! I want mummies!... And a sphinx and an obelisk. Make it a big one." In refined watercolor spreads, Napoleon's soldiers obligingly plunder temples and, as an afterthought, snare the crocodile, too. "What a cruel and abrupt departure from my mudbank," the caged reptile reports from a ship laden with Egyptian booty. The protagonist's irreverent tone serves as a perfect counterbalance for Napoleon's disrespect for Egyptian culture, and the varied use of vignettes, thought balloons and spreads keeps the pacing brisk. In one series of vignettes, Marcellino chronicles the lengthy journey and the creature's near starvation ("Was anyone keeping track of all the meals I was missing?") accompanied by its hyperbolic facial expressions. Upon reaching Paris, the crocodile achieves star status in a spread that conveys a capital worthy of its nickname, the City of Lights. Later, having fallen from favor, the croc escapes to the sewer system and, in comical facing pages, surfaces to snag a high-society lunch (feathered turban and all). Although its plump pickle-shaped body, chubby legs and devastatingly polite manner don't seem threatening, this is one stolen artifact that literally bites back. All ages. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Gr 1-4-Marcellino's first foray into writing is for seasoned picture-book readers. Children will be intrigued by the cover art-an enormous crocodile sitting on Empire-style furniture at a garden party, hungrily eyeing the guests, his menu upside down. In fact, the watercolors throughout are delightful: the oversized Egyptian reptile picturing his aristocratic ancestors (carved in stone, godlike) or performing the Crocodile Walk (bedecked in pleated skirt and breastplate) after being captured by Napoleon and installed as a fountain decoration in Paris. The pages are designed to present this crocodile of enormous ego almost as a screen star, right down to the playful iris shots in which he dreams of food. He escapes the cook's cleaver by diving into the sewer but has a problem securing food, until an upper-crust dilettante, seen in one scene and only a hat in the next, temporarily solves his dining dilemma. The jacket notes that the story was inspired by "a nineteenth-century satire by an unknown French author." This adaptation of French colonialism run amok is conveyed through a witty monologue that combines highbrow and colloquial elements. The story, however, is not as strong as the art; the singlemindedness of this animal with an attitude starts to wear thin. While sophisticated kids will find much to enjoy, general program audiences may prefer such reptilian hits such as Tomie dePaola's Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile (Putnam, 1987), Gail Jorgensen's Crocodile Beat (Aladdin, 1994), or Baba Diakite's The Hunterman and the Crocodile (Scholastic, l997).-Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.