The Watermelon Seed

by Greg Pizzoli (Author) Greg Pizzoli (Illustrator)

The Watermelon Seed
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

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.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

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)

Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

PreS-Gr 1--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

Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

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"

its a good book

Edit Your Review

it was funny and creative

Greg Pizzoli
Greg Pizzoli is the creator of the Baloney & Friends series as well as a three-time Theodor Seuss Geisel Award recipient for The Watermelon Seed (Medal winner), The Book Hog (Honor book), and Good Night Owl (Honor book). He is also the author-illustrator of This Story Is for You, The 12 Days of Christmas, Templeton Gets His Wish, and Number One Sam. His nonfiction for children includes the New York Times Best Illustrated Book The Impossible True Story of Tricky Vic: The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower, and he has also illustrated picture books written by authors such as Mac Barnett, Kelly DiPucchio, Jennifer Adams, and Margaret Wise Brown. He lives in Philadelphia.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
May 20, 2013
Texas 2x2 Reading List
Recommended 2014 - 2014
Geisel Medal (Dr. Seuss)
Winner 2014 - 2014
Grand Canyon Reader Award
Nominee 2015 - 2015
Kentucky Bluegrass Award
Nominee 2015 - 2015
Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award
Nominee 2014 - 2014
Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award
Winner 2014 - 2014
Monarch Award
Nominee 2016 - 2016

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