Book review: Kylie the Crocodile in Paris by Oliver Gee and Lina Nordin Gee

Kylie the Crocodile lives in a canal in Paris.
She used to live in an apartment with a Parisian lady until she grew too big and was released into the canal. Now, she enjoys people-watching and exploring the city’s sights at night when the city is quiet.

Book review: Kylie the Crocodile in Paris by Oliver Gee and Lina Nordin Gee - My

I love a book that starts with a place to write my name and declare it’s mine.

More specifically, and more importantly, five-year-old me loved a book that starts with a place to write my name and declare it’s mine. And the request to return it and “make it snappy” sets the tone that this book is going to be fun.

The idea of a crocodile who not only lives in Paris but engages with its activities is charming and I laughed out loud at some of her antics (no spoilers!).   

  • The story is told in rhyming couplets and accompanied by vintage-style illustrations of Kylie on her adventures around the city.
  • In many of the illustrations, Kylie is hidden, which can provide interaction for joint-reading, can you spot Kylie?
  • It is the illustrations, more than the text, that show us where Kylie visited, and these can be used with older children to point out places in Paris you’ve been, or places you’d like to visit.
  • The facts about Paris at the end are also a great introduction to the city for those planning a trip.

Kylie the crocodile: Who should read it?

  • Because of the rhyme, the book can be read to young audiences who are starting to appreciate playing with sounds, and
  • because it’s a fun story it can also be enjoyed by older readers who are learning to read for themselves.
  • However, as a story told in rhyme, it’s worth reading out loud to yourself before reading with children, as it will help you to find the rhythm before the pressure of performing in front of an eager audience.

Children’s books are already assumed to contain fantasy and imagination, therefore the comment that it’s “based on an absolutely true story…” is unnecessary, and potentially confusing for younger readers who are too young to understand sarcasm. Although its origin as a flippant comment from an elderly lady is explained at the end, Kylie stands alone as a character in a magical children’s world and needs no justification to exist. 

Looks as if Kylie has found an admirer

Share your Paris love with children: perfect gift idea

I thoroughly enjoyed this and I welcomed the promise at the end to “watch out for more adventures from Kylie (…and her friends)”. 

But don’t take my word for it, this is what six-year-old Australian Noah has to say:

I like that story. I’d read it again… I like the ending where she’s looking at the feet in the water to eat. And I like the bathtub… It was good. We could read it at school… I’d live in the book. I want a pet crocodile. It could live in the backyard.”

And his mother:

It’s a good one, I’d buy it. It’s the kind of book I’d buy before going to France to introduce Paris to kids. I’d read it again – and there’s a lot of books on our shelf I wouldn’t!”

Book review: Kylie the Crocodile in Paris by Oliver Gee and Lina Nordin Gee
Let’s say “au revoir” to Kylie and her admirer

Kylie the Crocodile in Paris is written by Oliver Gee and illustrated by Lina Nordin Gee. It’s published by Earful Tower Publishing and is available online via their website.

Have you read this book yet? It’s a perfect gift for the Francophile’s children and grandchildren. Do you have someone in mind? Share with us below in the comments.

Images credits: all copyright Bethany Keats
1. Kylie the Crocodile book
2. Kylie the Crocodile finds an admirer
3. Kylie and her admirer in Paris.
Interesting tidbit: The plush crocodile was supplied by an expert on the history of Human-Crocodile relations.Yes really!

Further reading—gift ideas and reviews of children’s books
1. Book review and author interviewA Genuine Little Mouse / Une Véritable Petite Souris by PB Lecron
2. Five fabulous reads for your children: French children’s books 
3. Not books but interesting background reading: Foundations of French Fairy Tales 

About the Contributor

Bethany Keats

I'm a former journalist who currently works in media relations. Originally from Geelong, Victoria, Australia, I now live in Townsville, Queensland and I usually visit France once or twice a year.

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