Odd isn't particularly brave. In fact, he's really rather afraid. Of dogs, for example, and of teenagers. He's terrible at football and is always picked last during gym class. Worst of all, he cries so easily, especially when the others tease him. And they do, at every opportunity.
But one day the class take a trip to the aquarium where Odd meets Rolf Lange, head of the reptile department. Rolf has tattoos and a pierced ear. He handles snakes and crocodiles as if they were cuddly toys.
Rolf probably isn't afraid of anything, Odd thinks , and is struck with an idea: he has to become tough, and what he really needs is a crocodile...
NOMINATED TO THE DEUTCHER JUGENDLITERATURPREIS 2017
‘Funny story about the need for a crocodile(…) The Crocodile Thief is about doing something crazy when you really just need a friend. The book combines everyday life, facts about reptiles and drama in a charming way, and fortunately ends well for both Odd and the crocodile.’
‘Although The Crocodile Thief follows a well-known recipe, it manages – by using humour, suspense and funny references to reality in both the text and illustrations – to be an original story which is very much worth reading […] The book is at its best when Odd finally starts implementing his plan. Vivid depictions of crazy situations – like imagining having to hide a wild crocodile in his room – make The Crocodile Thief both exciting and dramatic. The text is full of great metaphors […] The linguistic playfulness goes well with Christoffer Grav’s illustrations. The metaphors are made concrete in the illustrations, and this serves to emphasise Odd’s emotions. This is a successful idea which is also used to illustrate Odd’s experience of the situations. The difference between reality and fantasy is shown clearly […] Grav’s illustrations are an integral and – yes! – completely necessary part of the story.’
‘Bjørnstad has triumphed in the art of writing. This wild story becomes realistic and logical when seen from Odd’s point of view, and therefore even funnier. Development and details are finely-balanced. We cheer for what is hopeless and understand the themes behind the story. Christoffer Grav’s illustrations are stylish and inventive, and the entirety is a wonderful book.’
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