Book Review: Crictor

Rating: ★★★★☆

Crictor is another old story about a wild animal who finds his place in a human home.  This boa constrictor arrives in Madame Bodot’s home in a doughnut-shaped box, shipped from Africa by her thoughtful herpetologist son.  After her initial surprise, she accepts him as if he were any other kind of pet and he quickly finds his place in her neighborhood and community — playing with the children and (like Lyle and Babar) helping with their educational instruction.  The story culminates when Madame Bodot’s home is invaded by a burglar, who is subdued by Crictor until the police arrive (drawn by the burglar’s terrified screams).  He gains the admiration of the entire village, and lives a long and happy life.

The book, printed before the high-tech revolution in children’s book publication, initially seems humbly illustrated with only two colors, but the limitations of the technology do not greatly hinder Ungerer’s excellent writing, wry humor and sinuous lines.  Madame Bodot and Crictor are each admirable in their own way — she in her generous service to the community, he in his loyal courage in defending her.  This old story retains its charm, and is well worth reading.

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Publication Information: Ungerer, Tomi. Crictor. Harper & Row. 1958. ISBN: 0064430448.
Categories: 4 Stars, Age 00-04, Amblesideonline, Honey For a Child's Heart
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Posted on August 31, 2009

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