The Enormous Crocodile
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|Cover artist||Quentin Blake|
|Genre||Picture book, children's, short story|
|Publisher||Jonathan Cape (London)|
|1 November 1978 (40 years ago)|
|Media type||Print (quarto hardback, paperback)|
|LC Class||PZ7.D1515 En 1978|
The Enormous Crocodile is a 1978 children's story, written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake. The book itself was so successful at the time that a feature-length film based on the story is scheduled to be released on 22 February 2019, marking forty years since the first edition of the book was published.
The story begins in Africa in a large, deep, muddy river, where an enormous, greedy crocodile is telling a smaller crocodile, known as the Not-So-Big One, that he wants to eat children for his lunch. The small crocodile objects, because children taste "nasty and bitter" in his opinion compared to fish, and because of what happened the last time the big crocodile tried to eat children. The larger crocodile leaves the big, brown muddy river anyway, and announces his intention to Humpy Rumpy the hippopotamus, Trunky the elephant, Muggle-Wump the monkey and the Roly-Poly Bird. The animals insult him and hope that he will fail miserably and will himself be killed and eaten, after which the big crocodile briefly and unsuccessfully attacks Muggle-Wump and the Roly-Poly Bird.
First of all, the crocodile heads to a coconut tree forest, not far away from a town and disguises himself as a small coconut tree with branches and coconuts, hoping to eat a pair of children, Toto and Mary, but is exposed by Humpy Rumpy.
Next, the crocodile heads to a children's playground located outside an ancient school building and disguises himself as a see-saw, with the help of a large piece wood, hoping to eat a whole class of children, but is exposed by Muggle-Wump.
Then, the crocodile heads to a funfair and, when nobody is looking, he disguises himself as a wooden crocodile on a merry-go-round by sandwiching himself between a brown lion and a yellow dragon (with a pink-red tongue sticking out of its mouth) hoping to eat a young girl named Jill who wants to ride on him, but is exposed by the Roly-Poly Bird.
Last of all, the crocodile heads to a picnic place just outside the town. When nobody is looking, the crocodile himself picks a bunch of colourful flowers and arranges it on one of the tables before (from the exact same table,) taking away one of the benches and hiding it in the bushes and then disguising himself as a long, wooden four-legged bench, hoping to eat four children who are going out on a picnic, but is exposed by Trunky.
Following a brief confrontation, Trunky angrily wraps his trunk around the crocodile's tail, hoists him up, and then swings him round and round in the air by his tail, slowly and gently to start off with, and then a little faster and then a lot faster and very fast indeed. Eventually, Trunky throws the crocodile into the thin air with the trunk, causing the fiend himself to fly through the sky, away from Earth and into Outer space. The big crocodile whizzes past the Moon, past some shiny stars and past all the other planets, including Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto before finally crashing headlong into the hot Sun at the middle of the Solar System where he is incinerated.
Style and publication date
UK home media
On the 2005 Four Enchanting Stories by Roald Dahl DVD release, the story was narrated by Roger Blake, whilst on the accompanying VHS release, the story was narrated by Dave Benson Phillips and on the stand-alone Compact Disc by Stephen Fry, as well as on the accompanying Jackanory Junior episode by Lenny Henry and on the LaserDisc release by Monty Don as well as on the audio cassette release by Louise Redknapp.
Connections to other Roald Dahl stories
- Muggle-Wump the monkey also appears in The Twits in which he is accompanied by a family of Muggle-Wumps. A monkey which looks like Quentin Blake's illustration of exactly the same character also appears in The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me.
- The Roly-Poly Bird makes a surprising appearance in The Twits and he can also be seen in Dirty Beasts.
- A recipe outlining how to make your own edible Enormous Crocodile appears in Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes.