Reviews of The Croc and the Platypus

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Thought I’d do a quick Google search and collect all the book reviews that The Croc and the Platypus has received over the years. Thanks to everyone who took the time to read our book and write a review, I really appreciate it.


In no particular order…

The Owl and the Pussycat were an unlikely couple — and so are our own dinky-di Aussie version, the Croc and the Platypus! But that just adds to the fun of their rhyming romp through the Australian outback.

Author Jackie Hosking is an accomplished poet and her skills with rhythm and rhyme are evident in this, her first picture book. With the classic Edward Lear nonsense poem as her inspiration, instead of going ‘to sea in a pea-green boat’, our trusty duo trundle off ‘in a rusty old Holden ute’.

They took some damper
and tea in a hamper
And bundled it up in the boot.

Along the way, they look out over the Nullarbor Plain, blow on a didgeridoo, meet up with some shearers and their sheep, and camp next to an ochre pebble (um, that would be Uluru!). You get the idea!

Marjorie Crosby-Fairall’s illustrations perfectly echo the dusty desert hues of so much of inland Australia, while also imbuing Croc and Platypus with suitably laid-back charm. This is an ode to the Australian outback and its icons as well as a rollickingly good read that kids will soon have memorised.

The Croc and the Platypus is a children’s picture book written by Jackie Hosking, illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, and published by Walker Books, 2014.

From the publishers:

The croc and the platypus trundled off in a rusty old Holden ute. They took some damper and tea in a hamper and bundled it up in the boot. Join Croc and Platypus for an Australian outback hullabaloo!
Great read aloud, rhyming text.
An Australian twist on a classic poem.
Strong Australiana themes with beautiful illustrations make it perfect for education.

What I liked:

Hosking presents her version of The Owl and the Pussycat and does it with flair and an authentic Australian flavour. Young readers will encounter vocabulary like hullabaloo, didgeridoo, and damper. They’ll peek inside a shearing shed, and check out a camping site next to Australia’s most famous rock. Best of all, they’ll enjoy a fun and energetic story, and perhaps be inspired to play with rhyme and rhythm themselves.

I’m not familiar with Crosby-Fairall’s work, but certainly hope to see more of it. Her detailed illustrations reflect outback colours, and are filled with movement. Character expressions will make kids grin, especially the sheep, which seem quite bemused by Croc and Platypus. The end-papers have that little bit extra for kids to think about.

Extend the literature experience:

Kids will have fun with The Croc and the Platypus. Can they work out what landmark is referred to by “…the great ochre pebble/In the shape of a hill.”? What did the Croc and the Platypus do with the fleece? Crosby-Fairall has visual clues to the answers.

The Croc and the Platypus is based on The Owl and the Pussycat. Can older kids research to find any other works of art that were inspired by earlier works? Can they use the text’s rhyming scheme and rhythm as a model for their own adventure in words?

Stand-out features:

Rhyming fun, Australian theme, gorgeous illustrations – a great read-aloud to share with kids!

I commented recently on the Further Adventures of the The Owl and the Pussy Cat by Julia Donaldson and Charlotte Voake. Donaldson’s ineffable lyrical style does indeed take Edward Lear’s nonsense tale one step further and is a jolly expedition for the reader to navigate through. As you’d expect, it’s a very good picture book. Then I found an even better one.

With ute-fulls of respect to Donaldson and Voake, Jackie Hosking’s and Marjorie Crosby-Fairall’s debut creation of The Croc and The Platypus is a very, very good picture book.

Fans of Lear’s will relish the lilting musical quality of Hosking’s verse as she transports us as effortlessly as Julia Donaldson through the Australian outback with as an incongruous couple as the Owl and Pussycat; Croc and Platypus.

Hosking is spot on with this ingenious retelling of a childhood classic however, somehow makes it feel much more loose and flowing and bizarrely, even easier to read than the original. Her narrative sings with a down-to-earth gritty realism but is delivered with Lear’s same congenial, nonsensical joie de vive. Hub caps ring and didgeridoos blow as Platypus and Croc ‘play up a hullabaloo…baloo.’

I love Hosking’s incorporation of recognisable Aussie icons; Uluru, tea and damper and lamingtons to name a few as Croc and Platypus trundle across the plains eventually camping under the Southern Cross after cleverly procuring their tent. For those not so familiar with ‘click go the shears’ terminology, there’s even a neat little glossary.

Extra applause must go to Marjorie Crosby-Fairall for her truly epic acrylic and pencilled illustrations. The outback is vast and engulfing as are the illustrations of this picture book with gorgeously generous helpings of full colour, movement and sparkle on every single page.

Hosking’s appreciation of, commitment to and finesse with the rhyming word are self-evident. She works them all to perfection in this richly Aussie-flavoured celebration about embracing unlikely friendships and sharing stellar moments with those closest to you whilst enjoying a good old Aussie road trip.

The Croc and the Platypus has every reason to glow proudly alongside The Owl and the Pussycat, and dare I suggest outshine it.

The Croc and the Platypus is an Australian version of The Owl and the Pussycat, and I couldn’t decide what appealed to me most about this rollicking Australian picture book. There were so many things to like about it.

There’s a lilting quality to the rhyme that I just love, and who wouldn’t enjoy wrapping their tongue around words like hullabaloo?

The Croc and the Platypus is one of those books where you feel like the writer is sitting next to you telling her story, the author’s voice comes through strongly in a unique and engaging way.

But the text is only part of this entertaining story.

Marjorie Crosby-Fairall’s illustrations perfectly compliment the words. They take the humour to a whole new level, and the ochre’s, tans and greens of the truly Australian setting are captured so authentically.

The scenery is stunning and there is so much movement and life in Marjorie’s illustrations that you can picture yourself in the setting – perhaps even coming across these colourful characters along the road.

One of the other entertaining aspects of this book is the incongruous pairing of the Croc and the platypus – and this makes the tale even funnier.

For those who might struggle with the very Australian vernacular, there’s a glossary at the end of the book that provides translations.

I absolutely loved reading Jackie’s ’10 Things’…and wholeheartedly agree that Winnie the Pooh is the epitome of kindness; that bear is wise. Jackie is the author of ‘The Croc and the Platypus‘, published by Walker Books and out NOW. It is my three year olds FAVOURITE book at the moment and fortunately the text is so lyrical and lovely to read aloud that I don’t mind that I am up to about 30 reads of it! I am also buying this book for my Belgian brother in law and their gorgeous daughter. Apart from gorgeous illustrations of the Australian outback, this book also has a glossary of Australian vernacular at the end…sure to be useful in so many ways!

This delightful, rhyming picture book follows two unlikely Aussie friends on an impromptu journey to the red center. Along the way, they play an indigenous instrument (didgeridoo), eat local sweets (lamingtons) and meet a new mate (Australian for “friend”). Finally, the duo set up camp under the famed Southern Cross enjoying the night alongside a wonderous red rock.

A joyous tale in perfect rhyme, The Croc and the Platypus is a fun read-aloud story that includes an incredible number of Australian icons. The stunning artwork beautifully compliments the simple story as it introduces young readers to the wonders of the Australian outback.

Recommended, especially for anyone who wants to introduce young children to Australia.

From the ochre red landscape on the end pages to the grassy plains and shearing sheds inside, this is a wonderfully buoyant book about friendship and adventure in the Australian outback. Playfully mimicking the poem, The Owl and the Pussy-cat, we no longer have a pea green boat but instead have a ‘rusty old Holden ute.’ Whereas the owl and the pussy cat ‘sailed away for a year and day to the land where the Bong-tree grows’, Croc and Platypus ‘trundled away for most of the day on a track where the shearers go’ and at the end, instead of dancing by the light of the moon, they kick up their heals as ‘they danced beside Uluru.’ This is clever and fun and I can easily imagine reading it to kids who will love it! The last pages of Croc and Platypus asleep under a sheepskin tent is a perfect end to a very rollicking day and book.

From the lyrical talent of Jackie Hosking, with the superbly detailed and dynamic acrylic paintings by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, ‘The Croc and the Platypus’ bounds its way from outback Australia straight into our hearts.

To the age-old tune of ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’, here our water-loving, ‘Aussie’ pair set off, not to sea in their pea-green boat, but across the desert in their rusty Holden ute. Featuring typical Australian and Indigenous treasures and proper slang, including didgeridoo hullabaloos, sheep-shearing blokes, a cocky, lamingtons and the beauty of the Southern Cross above Uluru, the platypus and the croc embark on an extraordinary camping adventure.

The Croc and the Platypus’ is a charming Aussie rendition of the classic song with its romping, rollicking nature and perfectly suited sandy tones and animated characters. Primary school children will adore these unlikely mates and all that our native outback has to offer.

  • More reviews on The Croc and Platypus Website from…
    • Lyn Linning, Magpies
    • David Murphy, Reading Time
    • Thuy On, The Big Issue
    • The Sunday Telegraph
    • Margaret Hamilton, Pinerolo the Children’s Book Cottage
    • Sally Murphy, Aussie Reviews
    • Fran Knight, Read Plus
    • Susanne Gervay, Author
    • Anastasia Gonis, Buzzwords Magazine