Picture Books

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Hendriks, Maria

Makwelane and the Crocodile

Illustrated by Piet Grobler. Cape Town, South Africa: Human & Rousseau, 2004. No pag. ISBN 0-798-14462-9. Ages 4-8.

This is a big, bold, amusing picture book about a girl who outwits a crocodile. In the everyday rural necessities of fetching water, washing clothes, pounding maize meal, and, of course, making music, there is the need to be wary of danger. The hungry crocodile finds his gaping jaws unable to close when Makwelane jams the bow of her musicmaking instrument into his mouth. The humans, birds, beasts, and insects – and the young reader/listener – can rejoice and laugh.

Piet Grobler’s exuberant artwork frolics around the large pages with zest and skill, full of the flavour and humour of Africa. There is rollicking rhythm in the seemingly random layout, and in the balance of panoramic countryside with detailed, close-up moments. This stylised picture book is essentially true to the spirit of rural African storytelling. Makwelane and the Crocodile was the 2006 South African IBBY Honour Book for illustration.

Picture Books

South Africa

Human & Rousseau