Ragnar Aalbu

Krokodille i treet
Ragnar Aalbu: Krokodille i treet. Picture book, Cappelen Damm, 2015

A small crocodile has set out on his own into the woods. It’s foggy. And suddenly he sees a wolf. So he climbs up into a tree and doesn’t come back down.

Krokodille i treet (in English, “Crocodile up a tree”) is a minimalist picture book that tells a simple story, candidly and confidently, about being afraid and being different. We don’t move far in this book, but the sky, forest, and huge tree are all seen from different angles, and with a creative use of space and perspective. The text melts into the pictures, and it is the crocodile’s voice that we hear speaking to us from his forest treetop, and hurtling towards the ground. At the same time it calls to the adult reader’s mind the Aesopian fable about “crying wolf” too early. The ending on the final page manages to be liberating and surprising without uttering a single word.

Krokodille i treet is an exciting and funny story for young children which also provides a humorous aesthetic experience for adult readers.

In the author’s words, it is “a story about being in the wrong place. And definitely outside your comfort zone.”

Ragnar Aalbu is an illustrator and children’s author who has received many awards for his minimalist and stylised illustrations. He has published picture books with his own words as well as together with other authors. He studied in the department of visual communication at the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry in Oslo from 1991 to 1996.