I ordered this latest Judith Kerr book with no prior knowledge of what it was about, beyond the title. The reason is simple - Judith Kerr is one of only two authors where their reputation precedes them to such an extent that I don't even think it's a gamble to buy something they wrote, even if I'd never heard of it (the other one is George Macdonald Fraser, for me, which would give you a very odd idea of my literary habits if I wasn't explaining here and now that The Crocodile Under The Bed was bought with my 2-year-old daughter in mind, and not because I grew up on Mog and the Tiger Who Came To Tea. Definitely not.)
The story's wonderfully simple - Matty's too ill to go to a party, so he's left with Granddad, who promptly falls asleep. Matty's then taken to a special magical party in a jungle world by a flying crocodile, has a great time, and is home before anyone realises he's gone.
My daughter loved it and was read it over and over again on the first day, at her request. I also found it amusing as an adult, especially the wonderful juxtaposing of the text and the pictures (Matty: "what if I need a drink?" Mother: "Granddad will take care of it" - and the illustration shows granddad already asleep, slumped forward in an arm chair with a newspaper slowly sliding to the floor) and the little cameo appearance of Mog (I -knew- he could make a comeback, even after Goodbye Mog!)
So there's something for children without doubt, there's something for adults, and if you know a little about Judith Kerr and her previous books, there are some hidden joys too.
It's got the right mix of fantasy and normality to keep toddlers interested time after time, it's beautifully illustrated (as are all Judith Kerr's books) and it's a joy to read. I can't recommend it highly enough.