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Cely's Crocodile

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When Cely’s father brings home a crocodile, all she wants to do is draw the strange, fascinating reptile lounging in their family’s swimming pool. Her mother says no. “Women don’t draw or paint,” she tells her daughter.

But Cely has other plans for herself. Undaunted, she takes her notebooks and pencils out to the garden and starts to draw. So begins the extraordinary childhood tale of Araceli Limcaco Dans, one of the most famous painters in the Philippines.

Based on true events, Gabriela Dans Lee’s prize-winning story seamlessly braids art and history as the author recounts her grandmother’s contributions to the wartime efforts of Filipinos during World War II. Adrian Panadero’s luminous illustrations evoke a war-torn era in which Cely discovers that her destiny—as well as her family’s survival—lie in the very art that’s given her new eyes with which to see and reimagine the world around her.