Alexa and the other children at her school in Costa Rica have a special conservation project: they are raising American crocodiles. She names her croc "Jefe" and brings him chicken and frogs to eat, and writes about his progress in her diary. Soon, her little hatchling is as big as a loaf of bread. He has grown into a juvenile and it is time for Alexa to say goodbye and for Jefe to return to the wild.
School Library Journal - September 2016
"Readers follow Alexa, a young girl from Costa Rica, as she nurtures and cares for a baby crocodile named Jefe. The book is formatted like a diary, with each spread beginning a new day and a new learning opportunity for Alexa. In addition to detailing her daily tasks (feeding Jefe pieces of chicken, measuring his growth, and tracking his development), the narrative incorporates general information on crocodiles. Readers will learn of the differences among alligators, caimans, and crocodiles. A number of Spanish words (with their English translations directly following in parentheses) appear throughout the work. An introductory note explains that Alexa's story is a fictionalized portrayal of a real program in Costa Rica that allows young students to temporarily care for a baby crocodile. With a mixture of photographs and retro-style illustrations, this enlightening offering will entertain and educate readers. Moreover, the large font allows for this title to be used as a read-aloud in a classroom environment. The authors stress the importance of safety and learning to live peacefully with our crocodile neighbors. VERDICT Purchase to complement elementary science curricula on reptiles." - Kathia Ibacache, Simi Valley Public Library, CA