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Children’s Book Review | Crosby the Not-So-Snappy Crocodile (+ Author Interview!)

Crosby the Not-So-Snappy Crocodile Review

Crosby the Not-So-Snappy Crocodile, written by Joanne Moore and illustrated by Michelle Gemmel, tells the story of a gentle and friendly crocodile who doesn’t fit in with the other crocodiles who use their big teeth and claws to scare and hurt others.

He tries his best to fit in at first, practicing mean faces and snapping his teeth, but discovers it just isn’t him. In fact, he realizes he likes who he is, even if it makes him different from others.

So Crosby sets out to find acceptance. But before he finds others who embrace him for who he is, he learns to use his big teeth and claws in a positive way!

The illustrations in this book are bright and cheerful and full of animals like crocodiles, monkeys, zebras, flamingoes, and hippos that children are sure to love. Crosby himself wears a bright red bowtie and a sweet smile, making him my seven-year-old’s favorite part of the whole story.

The author and illustrator team up to celebrate Crosby’s kindness and gentleness in a lovely way, combining uplifting and confidence-boosting rhymes with bright and beautiful flowers and animal friends to showcase kindness as the strength that it is.

What I appreciated most about this book was that it didn’t teach a lesson to simply make new and better friends. As Crosby floats down the river, he notices a need (overgrowth on the banks) and meets it with his unique traits (his sharp teeth).

As he realizes the difference he’s making, he keeps at it, extending his pruning efforts to the surrounding bushes and flowers, finding real joy in the work. Then he meets friends while doing what he loves most.

The message shifts kids from the idea of simply finding someone who accepts you to finding someone who accepts you for who you were created to be. I absolutely love that!

Overall, this is a sweet and uplifting book young children are sure to enjoy. You can find it on Amazon and can follow author Joanne Moore on her websiteFacebook, and Instagram.

Crosby the Not-So-Snappy Crocodile Author Interview

Want to learn more about author Joanne Moore? I did too! She was gracious enough to field a few questions and share what’s next for her!

Deb: I noticed that this book is a part of “The Bit Different Collection.” Can you tell us about this collection? 

Joanne: “The Bit Different Collection” is a collection of children’s stories that help to promote inclusivity, encourage acceptance, and raise awareness about all kinds of differences. The inspiration for the collection as a whole came from numerous factors: 

  • my own medical issues and how I needed to gently explain these to my toddler without scaring her.
  • the pastoral side of my role when I was a teacher where I witnessed the impact that bullying and exclusion can have on a young person, and where I had the pleasure of working with SEN young adults.

Deb: Crosby the Not-So-Snappy Crocodile offers such a lovely and uplifting story about being different! What inspired you to write this book?

Joanne: I honestly had no other inspiration really apart from thinking I wanted to write a book about behavioral differences (as most of the other stories I have already drafted for the collection have focused on physical differences and medical conditions). I needed to consider which animal I could use for the story and a crocodile felt perfect, as I could really capture a contrast between the expectations of a crocodile and the gentle character that I wanted for this story.

This is a similar process I have gone through when writing each of my stories: choosing a main idea (difference), thinking of an appropriate character, and then getting started. With some of my other stories, there has been something specific that’s inspired me (a personal experience usually) but with Crosby, it was just the idea of having a character who behaves differently from his stereotype. 

Deb: I really appreciated that this book saw Crosby not only come to terms with his differences but also learn how to use them to make a positive impact in the world. Why do you think it’s important to expand the narrative of simply accepting yourself to finding your calling hidden in your differences?

Joanne: It is so important to accept ourselves. Being accepted by others is likely to come more easily if we first accept ourselves.

Every single person has a strength and something to offer this world. So I think it’s important that we know what our strengths, talents, and callings are and that we utilize them and celebrate them, whether these are hidden in our differences, or just within us, they need to be recognized and seen.

Deb: Do you have any advice for parents whose children are struggling to fit in due to their differences?

Joanne: Honestly, not trying to promote my own books here, but my advice would be to research children’s books about differences. It turns out there are so many, which is great for readers and people who need books with these topics but less great for me as an indie author trying to make a success of my own books when there are already so many wonderful ones available. Encourage your child’s teachers and nursery nurses to read these books to the class too, so that other children learn to be mindful of differences.

Obviously, there are many other ways to support a child who is struggling: talking to them, going to therapy, practicing mindfulness techniques, guided meditation, support groups where they can meet other children who are similar to them.

But a lovely way to support them at home, in a fun and gentle way, is through books with lovable characters they can relate to, scenarios they may be worried about or already familiar with, gorgeous illustrations to look at, just positive stories that provide a nice outlook and a lovely opportunity for further discussion and learning.

Deb: I read in your biography that you used to be a teacher! Is teaching what originally inspired you to begin writing children’s books? How did your career as an author begin?

Joanne: My teaching career certainly played a part in what I wanted the aim of my book series to be: to promote inclusion and acceptance, to raise awareness about all kinds of differences, and to celebrate being unique. In my pastoral role, my teaching role, and when working with SEN young adults, I witnessed the impact that bullying, exclusion, and isolation can have on a young person/teenager and it would break my heart.

Children are often taught about being kind and considerate and about not name-calling and upsetting others. However, teaching about inclusion goes beyond that.

If children are taught from a very young age about various differences/disabilities/medical needs and are encouraged to develop a better and deeper understanding of how people who live with these differences may think or feel and the struggles they have, then they can learn how to be more inclusive and accepting, and understand why it is so crucial.

Likewise, when teaching about inclusion, children who have experience being a little different due to illness, injury, or disability are reassured and feel heard and valued from a young age. This is so important. 

Opening the eyes of a young child fully to the world around them will hopefully shape them into becoming kinder and more supportive young people and adults with a healthy mindset and self-esteem.  Opening their minds, hearts, and souls to all kinds of differences will highlight the fact that ‘we are all a bit different.’ My teaching career certainly made me consider the above more and heightened my desire to write children’s books.

My career as an author began long before it actually began! I wrote my first book (in draft form) in the middle of the night one evening when I couldn’t sleep. Earlier that morning, an emotional moment at home had alerted me to the fact that I needed to start to introduce and explain my own medical condition to my toddler and that I needed to do this in a gentle way.

Immediately, I thought about writing a story that could highlight the condition and then open up a discussion.  What better way to explain sensitive topics than through books with positive stories, lovable characters, and gorgeous illustrations?

From there, I began to write more and more stories (usually in the middle of the night). When I decided to end my teaching career, I set a goal to get at least one of my books published, and here I am! 

Deb: What’s next for you? Do you have any upcoming projects you’re particularly excited about?

Joanne: Next up for me is book 3 – this is currently in the making (just being illustrated). It should be published by the end of summer.

As I have only just finished editing and finalizing that one, I’m having a short break before deciding which story I want to redraft and work on next. (It’s so hard choosing).

I’ve been very poorly recently and had a very difficult eight months, so a break is needed. Last time, I released two books within six months of each other but it will be a year between book 2 and 3, and will probably become an annual thing from here on out. 

In the meantime, I am doing school and nursery visits on my one day off every week and I absolutely love doing these. I’m working hard on marketing my books and still learning about how best to do this as I go. 

I chat daily with other authors from across the globe. We all support each other and have become great friends, too.

The indie author community is incredible: so supportive and uplifting. So, I will hope to continue to collaborate with these authors on any up-and-coming projects and future marketing and promotions. 

I’m excited about what’s ahead for my collection! 

Thanks so much for joining us today, Joanne! If you’d like to check out all of Joanne’s books, you can find them on her Amazon author page. Happy reading!

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