Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Small Readers: Croc and Ally: Fun, Fun, Fun! and Friends Forever by Derek Anderson

Croc and Ally are two friends. They are the same and they are different. They are both male, they are both green, they are both reptiles. But Croc is short, grumpy, and prefers that things stay the same. Ally is tall, goofy, and likes to try new things.

In other words, this is a very, very typical "odd friends" easy reader, following the Frog and Toad pattern. In Fun, Fun, Fun! Ally takes Croc swimming, even though he does not want to get wet and would rather read, takes Croc to pick out a new hat (he prefers his old one), and the two face off against a Scary Bug together. In Friends Forever, Croc trades their old sofa in for two chairs so he can have some space (it doesn't work), Ally tries to cheer up Croc when he's grumpy, and the two search for the moon, with Croc finding a substitute so Ally can sleep.

Anderson's cartoon illustrations are bright and cheerful; the main color scheme is green, with Croc and Ally's backs a darker, greenish brown while Croc's stomach is a light green and Ally's is a bright yellow-green. There are lots of different shades of green in the grass, open areas, and backgrounds. Their adventures take place outdoors, which adds a goofy dimension to the story. When they are trying on hats, all the hats and furniture sits in a clearing amidst the grass. When they go to bed their beds and dresser drawers are plopped down in the middle of the clearing with no walls or roof to their "house".

There's no level placed on the book, but I would put it one step past beginner. There are more complicated words like "friend", "surprise", and "grumpy", but also lots of repetition. The text is bold and set against the clear light blue of the sky or the greeny-tan of the ground.

Verdict: These are light, amusing fare that makes a good filler for easy reader sections. I am a little frustrated that they are both male and that, once again, the more introverted character is constantly being bugged out of his "grumpiness" but this is a really common formula for easy readers and I've mostly just learned to live with it. An additional choice if you need to bulk out your easy readers.

Friends Forever: ISBN: 9781524787073
Fun, Fun, Fun: ISBN: 9781524787103

Published 2018 by Penguin Workshop; Review copies provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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