IPG Children's Publisher of the Year

Open Very Carefully

  • Author: Nick Bromley
  • Illustrator: Nicola O'Byrne
  • Publication: 7 Feb 2013
  • Age: 3+
  • Order now

Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize: Picture Book Category
Shortlisted for Oscar’s Children’s Book Prize
Longlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award

What would you do if you were settling down for a quiet bedtime story and you realised that a crocodile had fallen out of one story and into yours and was – not to put too fine a point on it – furious? Would you slam that book shut, cram it in the bookshelf for evermore or would you be brave enough to peek?

This crocodile has ended up in totally the wrong book, so he proceeds to eat his way out in this fantastic debut picture book of a very grumpy croc as he tries to escape a storybook that is all wrong for him but is great fun for the reader!

This is a lovely book for sharing and discussing how words and pictures work, and the beautiful illustrations and excellent production values make this a truly special book.

Take a look inside:

Product details

  • Publication: 7 Feb 2013
  • Price: £10.99 HB/£6.99 PB/£5.99 BB
  • Format and size: 270 x 210mm/ 184 x 148mm BB
  • Pages: 32pp incl ends
  • ISBN: 9780857630476
  • Territory: World
  • Rights sold: US English, Danish, French, Italian, Portuguese (SA), Korean, Swedish, German, Dutch, Polish, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese (EU)

Request information about 'Open Very Carefully'


Kate B says: We are so very pleased to be Nicky O’Byrne’s publisher – her draughtsmanship is exceptional, she’s a consummate professional as well as being lovely, and – true to the Nosy Crow ethos of nurturing new talent – she is still at art school!

Nicky says: I got the idea for this book when I was sitting in the Edinburgh College of Art library, researching an essay I was supposed to be writing. I scrawled a little note to myself in my sketchbook along with a doodle of a grumpy crocodile, and after that I couldn’t get it out of my head. I have wanted to be a children’s book illustrator for a very long time and I am so happy and excited to be working with Nosy Crow, who are not only lovely people, with oodles of experience and full of great ideas, but who also supply a steady stream of tea and cake.


What is he doing now? He’s chewing the pictures!
And he’s eating the letters too! I think his favourites are O and S.



  • “The text and illustrations work together to produce a quirky crazy tale destined to be loved by young children.”

    The Scotsman

  • “Children will love the anarchic approach to storytelling offered by this picture book. Playful and full of fun, it encourages readers to pick up the book, rock it, shake it and even scribble on its pages! The final spread, complete with a ragged hole through which the crocodile makes his getaway, will leave young readers guessing and wondering what might happen next. The beautifully-designed pages and high production values make this surprising story extra-special.”


  • “The text is witty and fun … The artwork is dynamic which helps support the overall brisk and action-packed feel of the tale. The resolution of the story will delight little readers and is aesthetically perfectly accomplished. Though the ending remains resolutely open-ended; is that naughty crocodile going to turn up in other story books? Open Very Carefully is a great story which lends itself to dynamic and interactive storytelling. It will hopefully encourage little readers to “play” with stories and urge adult readers to look beyond the page when reading stories.”

    Library Mice

  • “This is a wonderful story, full of humour and very unexpected happenings – and just look what happens at the end! Children will love it and adults will appreciate the cleverness.”

    Parents in Touch

  • “This is a lively read with many prompts for interactivity and a format that makes it a good choice for both lap reads and preschool circle time … O’Byrne’s crocodile is a personable antihero—she underscores his disruptive nature by drawing him in a brash, aggressive style that contrasts mischievously with her soft, storybook duckling—and her integration of typography and action is consistently ingenious.”

    Publisher's Weekly

Add your review