François’ Croc Makes a Comeback

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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If you’re a kids book or illustration fan, you might have noticed a resurgence in resurrecting vintage illustrators’ children’s books. Bringing back forgotten classics by Tomi Ungerer, Saul Bass, Seymour Chwast, Paul Rand, Milton Glaser and scores of others has been fairly regular during each publishing season lately.

This column is about one. Crocodile Tears by the late, great French satirist and cartoonist André François from Enchanted Lion Books is a rarity that recently was rereleased along with François’ illustrations of Nelly Stéfane’s Roland and Milton and Shirley Glaser’s If Apples Had Teeth—each a beautifully recreated version of the original, back in print for the first time in almost 60 years.

This is a brilliant take on a crocodile’s most metaphoric character trait: its tears. The book comes in an elongated slip-case with airmail envelope markings and whimsically explains what it means to have the faux hysteria known as crocodile tears. I’ll only reproduce a few of the pages; it would be a shame to ruin the experience. The drawings are not as stylized as François’ famous New Yorker covers, but they are delightfully expressive and totally pleasurable.

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