Winston & George

Winston & George


Written by John Miller
Illustrated by Giuliano Cucco

A Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of 2015

Gorgeously illustrated, this is the story of a crocodile and a crocodile bird. These animals exist in a symbiotic relationship. Crocodile birds pick leeches and lice from the crocodile's skin and cry out whenever they see danger. In this story, Winston is a patient crocodile, George is a prankster, and their story is both sweet and dramatic.

ISBN: 978-1-59270-145-2
14" (W) x 8.5" (H) • 56 pages • HCJ

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A Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of 2015

"George the bird and Winston the croc spend every day together, fishing the river where they both live. George perches on the end of Winston’s nose and peers into the water. When he sees a fish, he shouts 'DIVE!' Winston does so and brings up a tasty meal for them both. But George is a prankster. As Winston sleeps in the cooling water, George gives him a big push, and the croc drifts several miles downstream, far from home. When he returns, the other crocodiles mock him and encourage him to ‘eat up that bird.’ But the thought of fishing without George makes him too sad to even answer. George fools Winston again, goading him to dive into a big mud bank. The joke goes sour when Winston becomes stuck, and a small herd of hippos is needed to free him. It’s time for Winston to teach George a lesson. The amusing tale plays out in energetic watercolor cartoons reminiscent of Tomi Ungerer, laid out in an expansive landscape orientation. The book was first written in the 1960s but remained unpublished until now, and that story is worth the price of admission all by itself. There’s also a helpful informative page about real crocodile birds and crocodiles. Cucco’s vibrant illustrations, published posthumously, make Miller’s simple tale with its valuable message something special." —Kirkus Reviews

"Oozing with lush tropical hues that reflect the alluring setting of a languorous jungle river, Cucco’s watercolors buoy the simple but dramatic story. Winston is ‘a very, very patient crocodile’ who spends his days with a water bird named George. Like the monkey Curious George, this bright little bird delights in playing pranks, even on his best friend. Despite—or because of—his mischief making, children will relate to George and will want Winston to resist the other crocs’ advice to devour the pesky bird. The wise crocodile understands that tricks aren’t the only things George offers; he’s also a devoted, vigilant friend who helps him by spotting fish and then shouting for Winston to dive." —Janice Floyd Durante, The New York Journal of Books

"Cucco creates a highly appealing jungle landscape of chunky cartoons and vivid color contrasts—Winston is (ironically) safety orange, while lime-green George has a hot pink tongue. As an author's note explains, while Miller and the late Cucco wrote and illustrated their picture books in 1960s Italy before losing touch with each other, this is the first of their works to see publication. Both a throwback and fully modern, it's a charming story of devoted friendship—feathers, scales, and all." —Publishers Weekly

"Ever had a friend everyone said you shouldn’t trust? Winston, a big, ‘very very patient’ crocodile, puts up with a lot of silly pranks from his pal George, a little crocodile bird, but when one joke goes too far it isn’t clear if either will see the light of day again. The intense, saturated colors of Cucco’s pen-and-ink pictures look so fresh it’s hard to believe they lay forgotten for a half-century, winding up in an attic. Publication brings them—as well as, at last, the mismatched friends—a happy ending." —Sarah Harrison Smith, The New York Times

"Cucco’s illustrations are superb. They have a wonderful grace of line combined with bright tropical colors that pop on the page…A humorous and dramatic look at an unusual friendship, one only wishes that Winston & George could go on more adventures together." —Tasha Saecker, Waking Brain Cells

“Rich, saturated pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations in brilliant blues, lush greens, and deep browns and a bright orange George are a pleasure to peruse. With Aesop's ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ theme, this swampy story, written, illustrated, stored away, and forgotten for 50 years, offers a moral that is true and powerful: no one will believe a liar, even when he's telling the truth.” —Maryann H. Owen, Children's Literature Specialist, School Library Journal

the book itself counters the tragedy with its boundless hopefulness and celebration of life: It tells the story, both playful and poignant, of the unusual friendship between Winston the crocodile and George the crocodile bird who love each other dearly but who have to withstand a flurry of hazards to remain together. It’s a beautiful ode to what true friendship means and to what it necessitates—the unconditional acceptance of each other’s flaws, the ability to see past the surface behavior and into the deeper intention, and the capacity to defend the sanctity of the relationship from the poison of outside pressures. […] Winston & George is unspeakably magnificent…” —Maria Popova, Brain Pickings


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