As always, Jeanne Willis’ rhyming text begs to be read aloud. ‘By the inky, stinky swamp where no one ever goes, Cliff the little crocodile found a pile of clothes.’ Frilly underwear, a slinky red dress, stilettos and a string pearls, no less. Not able to resist, Cliff tries them all on, and, oh, how he loves them! But the mean hyenas laugh at him and tell him to stop dressing like a girly or they’ll go and tell his Dad. Next, we are introduced to Dad; he looks like a baddy with a patch over one eye, leather jacket flying as he roars around on his motor bike; none of the other animals dares challenge him. But Cliff loves his Dad… would he be ashamed if Dad saw Cliff in a frock? Or sad, and die of shock? Freddy the frog turns out to be a big supporter of Cliff, and the animals unite to devise a show in which Cliff can partake in his new guise. The illustrations show just how much support there is for all the performers…. And despite the rehearsals going badly wrong, on the night of the performance, Dad just loves the show and declares his son Cliff to be star of the night, whispering to his son, ‘May I have my pearls back now?’and the final laugh is… we see Dad is wearing fabulous, adorable, scarlet high heels! A book to amuse and ponder upon, and to delight all those little ones who just love to dress up.
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Illustrator: Stephanie Laberis