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When Little Croc finds a purse full of money, he and his friends have all sorts of ideas about what they could spend it on. Should Little Croc keep the money for himself, or try to find the owner? When he decides to return the purse, Little Croc learns important lessons about sharing, saving, and spending. Lizzie Finlay pairs charming and humorous illustrations with this light-hearted tale that will have readers rooting for the resolute Little Croc as he overcomes pressure and does what he knows is right.
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AWARDS and RECOGNITIONS Bank Street College, Best Children's Books of the YearKirkus Reviews -Demonstrating the many rewards of Right Action, Little Croc fends off his importunate friends and resolutely hauls a large coin purse he's discovered under a bush to the police station -- past an oh-so-tempting shoe store, a lemonade vendor, a charity worker and Murdock, a menacing punk. In rushes the owner a little later to rescue a prized locket and then give Little Croc everything else! Unconcerned that it's a purse, and covered in pink flowers to boot, the delighted reptile adopts the fashion accessory and divides the cash inside into 'spend, ' 'share' and 'save' piles. He then treats himself to a lemonade and a coveted pair of red cowboy boots, makes a donation to the charity, buys gifts for all his buddies (and even Murdock), then goes home to drop the last coin in his piggy bank and dream of saving for a matching cowboy hat. Placing her all-croc cast in an upscale village setting and tucking in some visual jokes (the lemonade comes from 'Croc Monsieur's' caf?), Finlay gives the episode a bright and breezy look. Along with making worthy points about the benefits of honesty, modeling responsible financial behavior and even somehow managing to keep Little Croc from coming off as a goody-goody, she introduces a young hero who is refreshingly oblivious to gender expectations -- bravo.- Publishers Weekly -The pink flowery purse that Little Croc discovers during hide-and-seek looks innocent enough -- but it's actually an accessory masquerading as a moral minefield. Will the substantial money in the purse lead Little Croc into temptation? 'Would the owner notice if he borrowed some money from the purse?' Little Croc wonders, spotting some zippy red boots in a store window. Why not just cave to peer pressure and social norms? ('No one returns things nowadays!' his friends shout.) While Finlay (Dandylion) dangles the possibility of dishonesty in her story, the outcome is never really in doubt; Little Croc is the kind of character who literally scolds himself. Not only does the green hero take the purse straight to the police, he also divvies up the reward in a manner that any parenting magazine would applaud, parceling out amounts for 'spend, share, and save.' The mixed-media pictures have a sweet, unaffected exuberance. . . But readers will figure out early on that they're in for a surplus of life lessons.-

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