I love Crocodiles and have a small collection of them. One is crocheted, others are ceramic. There is a plastic one that expands and contracts as you pull on its nose and tail. Some are stickers, and one is a book; a book I am crazy about called, ‘Crocodile Crocodile’ published by Tundra Books and written by Peter Nickl and Binette Schroeder.
This book is a work of art. The original German language edition of ‘Krokodil, Krokodil’ was published in Europe in 1975 and began accumulating awards. It was chosen, “the most beautiful Swiss book of the year” in 1975, and in Japan, it won “the Owl Prize 1976”.
The authors are husband and wife and make a perfect team: Nickl writes the text and Schroeder produces the paintings. Artistically they work seamlessly together. “The paintings are at once poetic, dreamlike, and evocative.” The story in verse is described as “deliciously improbable and delightfully funny”.
“Je ne sais quoi” – There is an indescribable something in this story book that emits a surreal and sensuous feeling of delight as I read along and absorb the rich colors and gorgeous illustrations. A gift from my daughter, this is a book I keep close to me and couldn’t dream of being without.
My Crocodile collection includes this photograph of one I snapped as I walked along the Seawalk to get to the Library. An unknown artist maintains it and one Christmas the Crocodile’s eye blinked on and off festively. He has lived in this location for at least 25 years and survived a storm that destroyed most of the Seawalk. Not that long ago a partner arrived for him and I haven’t photographed this couple yet because she has a ‘cataract’ and is unavailable until the artist comes by again and remedies it.
When I was growing up, Mum and my Brother and I, used to enjoy reciting a poem that went like this:
“How doth the little crocodile,
Improve his shining tail
and pour the waters of the Nile
on every golden scale.
How neatly he seems to smile,
How gently spread his claws,
and welcomes little fishes in
with gently smiling jaws.”
Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets