The Watermelon Seed
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
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With perfect comic pacing, Greg Pizzoli introduces us to one funny crocodile who has one big fear: swallowing a watermelon seed. What will he do when his greatest fear is realized? Will vines sprout out his ears? Will his skin turn pink? This crocodile has a wild imagination that kids will love.
With bold color and beautiful sense of design, Greg Pizzoli's picture book debut takes this familiar childhood worry and gives us a true gem in the vein of I Want My Hat Back and Not a Box.
Greg Pizzoli is an author, illustrator and screen printer. When not chomping down on watermelon, he can be found in his studio or teaching at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he also received his MFA. This is his first book. Visit him at www.gregpizzoli.com.
2011 52nd Communication Arts Illustration Annual : Self Promotion Category
2011 Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators Illustrator Showcase Honor Award
The story is as old as time. Crocodile meets watermelon. Crocodile adores watermelon. Crocodile eats watermelon. Crocodile inadvertently swallows seed. Crocodile frets and worries and engages in histrionic apoplexy at certain I'm-gonna-turn-into-a-watermelon fate. Crocodile burps, expelling seed. Crocodile vows never to eat watermelon again. And the cycle repeats itself, presumably in perpetuity. With a sharp graphic sensibility, vibrant design, and adept characterization, Pizzoli spins the simple premise into a sweet confection, ripe with broad humor. Working in watermelon pink, apple green, and crisp black, blocked on buff stock, the artist manipulates his high-contrast palette to maximum effect. In his first-person rant, the crocodile pushes at the fourth wall, not quite breaking it, and certainly owes something to Mo Willems' titular pigeon in attitude and affect. But he is his own crocodile, with his own neurosis, and is sure to win his own fans and repeat readings.- Thom Barthelmess—Booklist Online
Classic kid fear: accidentally swallow a watermelon seed, and the result will be a botanical version of what the zombie virus does to folks in The Walking Dead: vines will come out of your ears, and pretty soon you'll turn pink and wind up a morsel in someone else's fruit salad. In this first book from Pizzoli, the goal isn't to assuage readers' fears, but he does defuse them with help from an adorable bug-eyed crocodile who's hooked on watermelon ("Ever since I was a teeny, tiny baby crocodile, it's been my favorite. CHOMP! SLURP! CHOMP!"). Pizzoli's ostensibly simple cartooning is actually quite clever: he plays with framing and scale to gently spoof the crocodile's horror-movie imaginings ("It's growing in my guts!"), while the limited but luscious palette (watermelon pink and green, of course) and a subtly pulpy texture make each spread good enough to eat. It's an expert debut, and one with a valuable lesson, to boot: a hearty burp can brighten even the darkest hour. Ages 3 5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (May)—PW
Ah, watermelon-so juicy and sweet, and so laden with seeds that, according to the mischievous, will grow a watermelon plant in your insides. That's the dilemma faced by our little green hero, who has adored watermelon "ever since I was a tiny baby crocodile" and would eat it all day if he could. But then he makes his mistake: "I swallowed a seed! It's growing in my guts! Soon vines will come out of my ears!" A hearty burp reveals that his gastric distress had a different origin, and after a brief swearing off of the stuff he's right back on the melon again. This is simple and punchy, with accessible humor and a modest emotional conflict that youngsters will recognize. While it's not exactly debunking the myth (in fact, the visuals suggest that the croc is saved because the seed bounces back out of his mouth when he belches), there's a tacit recognition of the bogusness of the factoid in the amusing hyperbole, so nervous youngsters will find the breezy exaggeration ultimately reassuring. Even the art is watermelon-the three-colored palette (watermelon-pink, rind-green, and seed-black) against matte cream pages echoes the fruity goodness and allows for maximum eye-popping contrast. Screen printing allows for sweet intensity and subtle textures in Ben Day dots and overprinting, while the pared-down simplicity of the spreads and lively incorporation of text into the images provides graphic oomph that will reach the back row of the storytime rug. Watermelon season would be the perfect time to bring this one out-seed-spitting contest afterwards optional. DS—BCCB
Children will love this hilarious book. Crocodile has devoured watermelon since babyhood and eats it every chance he gets. One day, however, he swallows a seed. This sends him into a panic. Will it grow inside him and come out of his ears? Will he grow larger and turn pink? The poor crocodile is so worried until he burps up the seed. He vows to never eat watermelon again, but will he be able to resist? The illustrations of the reptile's fear about what might happen to him are very funny and the oversize font on those pages reinforces the emotion in the story. The artwork was created by screen print in pink, green, black, and brown. This simplicity allows readers to fully appreciate the changes in the croc's facial expressions, which artfully contribute to the humor. The story has broad appeal, making it a great first purchase. Amy Shepherd, St. Anne's Episcopal School, Middleton, DE—SLJ
A watermelon-loving crocodile worries over a swallowed seed in this balmy tale. Juicy endpapers of watermelon pink draw readers into this playful tale about a crocodile and his favorite fruit. Oh, how this friendly little croc adores his watermelon. But when he accidentally eats a seed, it's an emergency! The silly reptile frantically envisions the consequences of growing a melon inside one's belly, until his stomach responds. With a large belch, the seed is dislodged, and the croc happily swears off watermelon-until the next delectable slice. The illustrations, done in a graphic, flat-color style with simple linework, recall the cheerful stylings of Ed Emberley and Roger Hargreaves. While Pizzoli uses the computer to arrange his compositions, he takes extra care to hand print the pieces. Done in a three-color printing, the silk screen offers a toothiness to the page, giving fruit, animal and emotions more substance. However, the ingenuity of Pizzoli's work is in the making of the images, rather than in the story itself, which is about as substantial as, well, a piece of watermelon. A humorous vignette with deliciously bright colors that leap from the page. (Picture book. 3-5)—Kirkus