A family of little birds discovers a lonely egg, so they take it home and look after it. When the egg cracks, out pops a tiny green crocodile! Croccy grows to be a very helpful, beautiful and amusing family member even though he is distinctly different in every possible way to the rest of the family.
Croccy is endearing and charming. He is gentle, patient and kind. He has unique skills and talents that benefit the family and the community. Yet none of the other bush animals can understand why the birds keep him, especially when he grows to be enormous. The answer, however, is very simple.
Author Kitty Black draws on her experience of being part of a neuro-diverse family and their relationship with society. Kitty explains: “Through this book, I hoped to showcase a lesser-seen perspective of diverse families, that of us thriving and being happy and enjoying the unique characteristics of our children.”
Kitty also shows the societal expectations and demands that are frequently experienced by diverse families. The repeated questions “but why do you keep him?” builds the tension to the ultimate answer. Inspired by love in all its different forms, and families in all their different shapes and size, this is a delicate story told in a robust and straightforward way.
Illustrator Daron Parton is a keen bird watcher and it was his idea to create Croccy’s family as birds, and they perfectly suit the story. Birds must surely be the most diverse group of creatures on the planet: from the littlest wren to the largest cockatoo. His brightly coloured digital artwork captures the individuality of the Aussie bush creatures and their quirky personalities. Look for the lifeguard platypus – very sweet! There is detail in the illustrations that brings humour to the story and provides an extra narrative to be explored.
Suitable for children 4+. It is also a perfect resource to use with older children to explore diversity, particularly societal expectations and the perceived value of individuals in a family or other group.
Comprehensive teachers notes and activity sheets are available, making an excellent package for educators and parents to spark conversations and anticipate questions and conversations. Possible applications include adoption, newcomers to the school community from diverse backgrounds, physical abilities, neurodiversity or any other situation where an individual is different to the perceived norm.