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|
|Media type||Print (quarto hardback, paperback)|
|LC Class||PZ7.D1515 En 1978|
The story takes place in Africa. The story begins at a large, deep river, where an enormous, greedy crocodile is telling a smaller crocodile, known as the Not-So-Big One, that he wants to eat some delicious juicy children, especially girls, 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 and will himself be killed and eaten, after which the 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 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 piece of 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 lion and a 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.
Lastly, the crocodile heads to a picnic place outside the town. He picks a bunch of flowers and arranges it on one of the tables before, (from the 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 teaches the crocodile an unforgettable lesson by swinging him round and round in the air by his tail, slowly and gently to start off with, and then faster and faster. Eventually, Trunky lets go of the crocodile’s tail, sending the fiend himself flying through the sky, away from Earth and into space. The crocodile whizzes past the Moon, past some stars and past some planets before finally crashing headlong into the Sun where he is incinerated.
Style and Publication Date
UK Home Media Releases
On the 2005 Four Enchanting Stories by Roald Dahl DVD release, narration on the story was provided by Roger Blake, whilst on the accompanying VHS release, narration was provided 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.
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 the exact 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.
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