Little Doctor and the Fearless Beast by Sophie Gilmore (9781771473446)
Little Doctor takes care of crocodiles. She offers kindness and gentleness while she marvels at their big jaws and muscular tails. They share their stories with her as she treats their ailments and heals them. Still, when Big Mean, the largest crocodile of all, comes to her clinic, Little Doctor isn’t sure that she will be able to help. Big Mean won’t let her close enough to figure out what is wrong. Little Doctor won’t give up though and manages to get herself in quite a dangerous spot as she falls into Big Mean’s open jaws. But what she finds there teaches her that Big Mean isn’t that mean after all.
Gilmore’s picture book creates a fascinating dynamic between human and beast. The human is the smaller and weaker one here, giving help to the huge green creatures. I also appreciate that the doctor is a girl, bravely working with animals who have sharp teeth and certainly aren’t cuddly in any way. Her bravery and kindness form the heart of the story as does the natural building of trust between her and Big Mean. Readers will think that Little Doctor has made a huge mistake, but in the end, her knowledge and deep trust shines through.
Gilmore’s art is filled with small details, particularly when showing Little Doctor’s clinic. From the eggs in display stands to the series of different sized and shaped windows, this is a special space. Gilmore fills the rooms with crocodiles, huge swaths of green scales that are daunting. The images very successfully support the story.
A grand look at trust, kindness and care filled with crocodiles and one brave young doctor. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.