Chandler the Crocodile
Grace Estle (author) QNB Studios (illustrator)
Independently Published (2021)
Reviewed by Lily Andrews for Reader Views (04/2022)
We are all different. While practicing self-acceptance, one uncovers hidden gifts and talents that they didn’t know about themselves and this helps in stepping out on the path to growth, paying little or no regard to negative comments from others. There is no better way to demonstrate and instill this in a child’s young mind than through the work of art.
“Chandler the Crocodile” is a fascinating picture book by Grace Estle and illustrated by QBN Studios. Readers are introduced to young Chandler, a crocodile who has just joined a new school. Chandler quickly notices he looks different from his peers, who are fluffy bears with brown chocolate coats. His leathery, green skin and pointy teeth quickly draw attention to him as he overhears crass comments about his body along the classroom hallways. Little Chandler is gravely upset as he shares with his mother his sad first day at school. Nothing much changes in the subsequent days and no one wants any association with him, even during breaks. With his mother’s constant reassurance, the young crocodile one day discovers his abilities and uniqueness have value.
The school setting created is perfect and realistic and the characters’ anthropomorphic voices masterfully represent children’s thoughts and discussions. The vibrant illustrations are tidy and skillfully done and the fascinating array of colors in the picture book will draw in even the most attention wandering child. For this reason, I rate this light-hearted read 5 stars. Estle deftly explores themes such as self-acceptance and forgiveness in a childlike manner.
Some of the sentences in this children’s book are rhythmic, lyrical, and easy for young minds to remember even after the reading is done. The main character, Chandler is well fleshed out and the author does a remarkable job in using him for plot development. I found myself rooting for young Chandler in every situation and kept hoping to see him find his silver lining. That this swiftly paced book has a joyous ending is an added bonus. “Chandler the Crocodile” by Grace Estle oozes warmth and depth, making it a touching and empowering tale that explores powerful themes in a childlike manner.