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|Audio read by||Stephen Fry (on the CD release)|
Louise Redknapp (on the Audio cassette release)
|Cover artist||Quentin Blake|
|Genre||Picture book, children's|
|Publisher||Jonathan Cape (London)|
|1 November 1978 (41 years ago)|
|Media type||Print (quarto hardback, paperback)|
|LC Class||PZ7.D1515 En 1978|
The story begins in Africa in a large, deep, muddy river, where the enormous crocodile (the title character) is telling a smaller crocodile, known as the Not-So-Big One, that he wants to eat children for his lunch. The small crocodile objects, because children taste "nasty and bitter" in his opinion compared to fish, and because of what happened the last time the big crocodile tried to eat children. The larger crocodile leaves the big, brown muddy river anyway, and announces his intention to Humpy Rumpy the hippopotamus, Trunky the elephant, Muggle-Wump the monkey and the Roly-Poly Bird. The animals insult him and hope that he will fail miserably and will himself be killed and eaten, after which the big crocodile briefly and unsuccessfully attacks Muggle-Wump and the Roly-Poly Bird.
First of all, the crocodile heads to a coconut tree forest, not far away from a town and disguises himself as a small coconut tree with branches and coconuts, hoping to eat a pair of children, Toto and Mary, but is exposed by Humpy Rumpy.
Next, the crocodile heads to a children's playground located outside an ancient school building and disguises himself as a see-saw, with the help of a large piece wood, hoping to eat a whole class of children, but is exposed by Muggle-Wump.
Then, the crocodile heads to a funfair and, when nobody is looking, he disguises himself as a wooden crocodile on a merry-go-round by placing himself between a brown lion and a yellow dragon (with a pink-red tongue sticking out of its mouth) hoping to eat a young girl named Jill who wants to ride on him, but is exposed by the Roly-Poly Bird.
Last of all, the crocodile heads to a picnic place just outside the town. When nobody is looking, the crocodile himself picks a bunch of colourful flowers and arranges it on one of the tables before (from exactly the same table), taking away one of the benches and hiding it in the bushes and then disguising himself as a long, wooden four-legged bench, hoping to eat four children who are going out on a picnic, but is exposed by Trunky.
Following a brief confrontation, Trunky angrily wraps his trunk around the crocodile's tail, hoists him up into the air, and then, after talking to him briefly about having had enough of his clever tricks, he swings him round and round in the air by his tail, slowly and gently to start off with, and then a little faster and then a lot faster and finally very fast indeed. Eventually, Trunky lets the crocodile go, causing the fiend himself to fly through the sky, out of Earth and into space. The big crocodile whizzes past the Moon, past some stars and past all the other planets, including Mars, before finally crashing headlong into the Sun at the middle of the Solar System where he is incinerated like a sausage.
On the 2005 Four Enchanting Stories by Roald Dahl DVD release, the story was narrated by Roger Blake, who also provided the character voices, whilst on the accompanying VHS tape release, the story was narrated by Dave Benson Phillips and on the stand-alone Compact Disc by Stephen Fry, as well as on the accompanying Jackanory Junior episode by Sir Lenny Henry.