A Hero's Birthday (Melrose & Croc) by Emma Chichester-Clark

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A Hero's Birthday (Melrose & Croc) by Emma Chichester-Clark

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: A stylish and exciting new instalment in the series that explores the meaning of friendship in elegant, dreamy tales of a big yellow dog and a little green crocodile, this time in a French seaside resort. Recommended for fans and newcomers.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: July 2008
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0007258666

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Melrose and Croc met one lonely Christmas and have been best friends ever since. A Hero's Birthday is the sixth book in the series and it continues the exploration of the friendship theme, this time in a rather adventurous setting.

It's Croc's birthday and Melrose has organised a stay at a French villa by the sea, a festive tea and a special surprise. Croc stays in and waits as Melrose goes out to finalise arrangements. But as hours pass, Melrose is not back and a storm comes, Croc starts getting worried.

It's all distinctly upper-middle class (I suspect Melrose is seriously rich) but it doesn't matter at all. The landscapes are archetypal, the humans that inhabit them accept a dog-and-croc couple as perfectly reasonable neighbours or visitors and the world Melrose and Croc inhabit has a wonderfully dreamy quality.

The illustrations are instantly recognisable and as elegant as ever; clear, vivid and charming.

The story is exciting - the peril Melrose gets into very real, and Croc's heroism matches it. Strangely, it's Melrose that gets a bit reckless this time and it's little Croc that saves the day (and on his own birthday!). The final scenes provide a very satisfying ending, both emotionally and visually (fireworks!) and it's touching without getting too mawkish. But beyond the exciting adventure, the underlying message is the same: friendship, what friends feel, what they do for each other and why it's good to have them.

As other Melrose and Croc books it will be most suitable from about 3 years of age, when children start to play with rather than next to their peers and develop first friendships and with that, the need to work our the rules for conducting this new and difficult kind of relationship. There is a little bit more of a story in A Hero's Birthday than in some other Melrose and Croc books and thus even some five or six year olds might enjoy this one.

The review copy was end to the Book bag by the publisher - thank you!

Blue Kangaroo books by Emma Chichester Clark also explore friendship as do Helen Cooper's Pumpkin Soup and The Velveteen Rabbit.

Buy A Hero's Birthday (Melrose & Croc) by Emma Chichester-Clark at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Hero's Birthday (Melrose & Croc) by Emma Chichester-Clark at Amazon.co.uk.

Buy A Hero's Birthday (Melrose & Croc) by Emma Chichester-Clark at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Hero's Birthday (Melrose & Croc) by Emma Chichester-Clark at Amazon.com.


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