September 27, 2012

By Amy Hackworth.

I am hard pressed to tolerate – let alone love – a snake, but Crictor steals my heart, just like he steals the hearts of an entire French town in Tomi Ungerer’s Crictor, first published in 1958.

When Madame Bodot’s son sends her a boa constrictor from the jungle where he lives, she is understandably alarmed. But she and the snake become unlikely friends and in the end, Crictor saves the day for the entire town. The line drawing illustrations are fun and engaging and it’s got that Reading Rainbow seal of approval. Who knew a snake could be so lovable?

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ceridwen September 27, 2012 at 7:33 am

Oh my goodness! I forgot all about this book. I need to see if I can find a copy for my girls. So glad you posted about this. :)


2 Azra September 27, 2012 at 7:58 am

Amy, I love your book picks. They are on my list. :)


3 Amy Hackworth September 27, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Azra, thanks! Makes my day!


4 Annina September 27, 2012 at 8:11 am

One of my favourites when I was little!


5 leslie w. September 27, 2012 at 8:33 am

I’m with you — It’s hard to be charmed by snakes, but Crictor is an exception. You might also be delighted by a new snake picture book — My Snake Blake by Randy Siegel. Very cute (and I wouldn’t be surprised to discover it was influenced by Crictor)!


6 Amy Hackworth September 27, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Thanks, Leslie! I’ll be sure to check it out!


7 Alicia W. September 27, 2012 at 10:19 am

We love this book! We have a copy from when my husband was a little boy and now our kids love it!


8 Ann September 27, 2012 at 11:37 am

Love this book! We happened upon it during a library trip and it’s now one of my favorites.


9 Amy Hackworth September 27, 2012 at 12:23 pm

So glad to hear there are some Crictor fans among us!


10 Ann September 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I still have my husband’s original copy! The kids loved it when they were little. It’s so English! One of our favs!


11 Nichshee September 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Tomi Ungerer is so cool! He is such a character. He was born in Strasbourg, France and there is a lovely museum here for him. He is the Council of Europe Ambassador for Children and Education (also based in Strasbourg, along with one of the seats of the European Parliament). If the Blairs come to Strasbourg I suggest it is during the Christmas market – definitely worth a visit – and then go to EuropaPark in Germany just across the border but the best time to visit that is now…. AMAZINGLY good Halloween fun. You will never see so many pumpkins in one place…but Christmas there is also fun (if cold!)..


12 Sandra September 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I was at TIFF a few weeks ago (Toronto International Film Festival) and saw 19 films in 4 1/2 days. One of THE best that I saw was a documentary on Tomi Ungerer, author of Crictor. You are SOOO right – he IS a character.

I wrote a post about it over here:

His books were out of print for a number of years and they REALLY are amazing. Wonderful witty writing and charming illustrations. He is quite the inspiration.


13 Nichshee September 28, 2012 at 7:21 am

Thanks Sandra, I will look out for the documentary, I am sure it is fab, as he is. Some of his adult cartoons make me blink but I DO LOVE him, last I heard he lives in Ireland but Strasbourg is soooooo proud of him, I went to a local restaurant a while ago which is crammed with his drawings. He designed the logo for my children’s school – European School of Strasbourg – even in his 70/80s he is still involved and active giving his time for worthwhile projects (his drawings for a Council of Europe tolerance campaign, a black child, a penguin, a white child – with the tag, I’m black, I’m white, are just perfect). He is a star and I am so glad to see how much he is appreciated all over the world… you are right, he is an inspiration.


14 Sandra September 28, 2012 at 12:19 pm

You will LOVE the documentary. Of course it DOES go into his other illustrative “sidelines”, let’s call them.


15 MT Lee September 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I still have my copy from when I was a kid and my kids love it so much that it is now falling apart and I need to tape it back together!


16 Lisa J. September 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm

After reading your review and the comments I’m going to check my library today!


17 DianeG September 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm

My best friend bought this for my 2-year-old daughter, who loves it so much she named one of her stuffed animals “Madame Louise Bodot”. I have to admit, I didn’t totally get the appeal until I started reading it out loud every day. It’s cute and quirky, and the illustrations are perfectly charming.


18 mer September 28, 2012 at 12:08 am

one of my absolute favs. good pick Amy!


19 Grania September 28, 2012 at 2:02 am

Still have my (German) childhood edition, must be at least 40 years old. Love it and my children, nieces, nephew etc. do too


20 Gina September 28, 2012 at 7:31 am

We LOVE this book! It’s a family favorite!
(and I am a sucker for any books done in this almost mono/duocromatic, line art style.)


21 Emily Litman September 29, 2012 at 7:54 am

Grandmothers and Snakes! What a great pairing :)


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