What I'm Reading Now

It's not often that my four-year-old son and I are reading books with similar scenes, but this weekend there was a confluence of crocodiles.

In "Amazon in the Afternoon," the sixth book in Mary Pope Osborne's excellent Magic Tree House series, the siblings Jack and Annie flee millions of marching army ants by taking to a canoe in the water. When they want to go back to shore, Jack grabs a vine, only to discover that it's really a snake. Annie reaches for a branch, only to discover that it's a crocodile, whose gaping jaws barely miss her. (Spoiler alert: They eventually make it to the riverbank with the help of a monkey and a long stick.)

In "She," H. Rider Haggard's 1886 thrilling adventure tale about an African sorceress who gains near immortality for love, our two British heroes (accompanied by their hapless servant and much-abused Muslim guide) spend a night in a boat in the middle of a river in the wilds of Africa. They hear a splash and spy two dark shapes swimming toward them. Lions! They manage to shoot one, but the other is just about to leap on them when lo! a dark shape leaps on it. A crocodile! In the page-long struggle that follows, the lion gouges out the crocodile's eye, but the crocodile manages to bite the lion nearly in half. But luckily for the fearless adventurers, the scene ends in the mutual destruction of the fearsome predators.

Both scenes required avid re-readings, as well as reassurances that, no, there aren't any crocodiles in our own habitat. That we know of....

By Rachel Hartigan Shea |  March 30, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
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First off, "Amazon in the Afternoon" is a great book. Personally, it's the army of ants that got me each time but I have myrmecophobia. Anyways, it's interesting to see that even kids' books manage to tell great and fascinating tales that big-person books also go for.

Posted by: Biblibio | March 30, 2009 1:57 PM

Really enjoy "Short Stack" on a daily basis....

Posted by: cluke2 | March 31, 2009 1:56 PM

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