Book Review: Crictor by tomi Ungerer

Do you remember reading Crictor as a child?

It was a Reading Rainbow book, back when LeVar Burton was both part of my occasional afternoon television line up and Lt. Commander Geordi when I was allowed to stay up and watch Star Trek: The Next Generation.*

It was also a favorite book of mine as a child, which probably ended up in many hours of me wandering around and subjecting the Incredibly-Patient-Mother to me saying “Crictor, Crictor, the boa constrictor”

Crictor is a pet sent to Madame by her son, who is off in the depths of Africa. The book presents a snake far more like a dog than any snake I’ve met, happy to go along to the shop, to school, or out for a glass of milk, which he drinks through a straw.

What probably amuses me the most about this book is when Crictor rescues Madame from a burgular. Suddenly Crictor has fangs (despite being non-venemous, which we already learned, and despite the fact that I don’t see any on this real photo of a constrictor) and behaves like the natural predator that he is. How would you convince the pet constrictor to let go of burgular prey? Well, that’s not really clear, but he does get a park named after him for such bravery.

And he gets to wear a knitted tube sweater in the winter. Which I have to enjoy.

* Looking back, I realize they had a number of good actors on that show: LeVar Burton, Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner