Nervous Nigel

Publisher: Templar Books

Nigel the crocodile comes from a family of over-achievers. His mum is the fastest swimmer in crocodile history, his brother Ralf is captain of the water polo team and even Granny Lou won the gold medal for backstroke at the Croc Games. Nigel loves swimming, but hates competition: he’d much rather float on his back and dream – and he finds it impossible to tell his family that he doesn’t want to compete.

So when his well-meaning family enter Nigel in his first race, Nigel can’t sleep for thinking about how disappointed they’ll be when he doesn’t win. He tries to explain, but they don’t listen, and so finally Nigel finds himself at the race, and too nervous to swim. Yet when Nigel runs away, ashamed of himself, he finds a frog that really appreciates a slow, meandering ride across the river on Nigel’s back. Is there a way that Nigel can still do what he loves and not disappoint his family?

This thoughtful story about how we all worry about living up to family expectations is very nicely expressed with Nigel and his family of adorable crocodiles. In fact, Nigel’s family just want him to be happy and mistakenly think that competitive swimming is for him, just because it’s been perfect for everyone else in the family – yet when they see him cowering on the starting line for the race, they rush over to help. There’s a reassuring ending here that all families just want their children to be happy, as  well as a good reminder that not everyone is a competitive animal.

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