Like Bruce Eric Kaplan's Monsters Eat Whiny Children, Sylvianne Donnio and Dorothée de Monfried's I'd Really Like to Eat a Child is fueled by that classic Grimm childhood fear of being eaten. And, while both authors work to alleviate (at least a little bit) the fear and tension surrounding the subject of their books, Donnio's book is actually a bit more gripping because kids KNOW there are really crocodiles that eat people... However, the title of the book really has a much more threatening bite than the story itself, which is actually as cute as little Achilles the crocodile himself.
Achilles (great name, makes him seem a little less scary) is an adored little crocodile who makes his Mama proud every day by eating up all the bananas she brings him. She praises him lavishly, saying, "What a big boy you are getting to be, my son! And how handsome! And what beautiful teeth you have!" to which Achilles responds, "True." However, one day Achilles turns up his nose and says, "I'd really like to eat a child." His Mama is desperately worried by his stance, as any mother of a child who is refusing to eat would be. His father brings Achilles an enormous sausage which is met with rejection - unless it has been made out of child. To this his father scoffs, "Come now, Achilles. There's no such thing as a sausage made from children!" Next, his parents team up to make a delicious, gigantic chocolate cake which almost tempts Achilles until he realizes that what he really wants to eat is child.
Feeling a little "strange and weak all over" since he has not eaten his breakfast, Achilles heads down to the river for a swim. As he approaches the bank he spies - a child! Happy day! At this point, the visual joke of the story becomes obvious - Achilles is way too small to eat a child. But, he doesn't know that and he tries to sneak up on the little girl and bear his ridiculously small teeth and lets out a tiny "raah!" The little girl squeals - with glee - and grabs this cute little croc by the tail and tickles his tummy. When she's done with him, she throws him in the river. Undaunted by this seemingly humiliating experience, Achilles is instead exhilarated. He runs home shouting, "Daddy, Mommy! Quick, give me some bananas! I have to grow bigger . . . BIG enough to eat a child!"
Both author and illustrator are French and I'd Really Like to Eat a Child is translated by Leslie Martin. While I couldn't find very many images to share with your, de Monfried has a brisk, cartoon-like style that adds humor to the story but also keeps it focused on Achilles and his dilemma. Donnio's writing captures the sometimes helpless love parents feel for their children as well as the happy sense of accomplishment kids have when they figure things out on their own.
Monsters Eat Whiny Children by Bruce Eric Kaplan