Bernard Waber, who has written eight delightful books about Lyle the Crocodile, a little boy named Ira, and a firefly named Torchy, is the author of more than seventeen picture books for children. Widely praised by reviewers for his ability to describe common family problems, he is best loved by children for his freeflowing humor and gentle characters.
Readers may be somewhat mystified by this latest installment in the saga of Lyle the lovable Crocodile, who lives with the Primm family on Manhattan's Upper East Side. In Waber's convoluted tale, clear narrative is sacrificed in the name of playful atmosphere. Lyle's mother Felicity has journeyed from the Land of Crocodile to join Lyle; they are happiest by day, when it is ``just the two of them doing their chores.'' In the pivotal episode, Mrs. Primm takes Felicity shopping at a department store. Felicity, who innocently stocks her shopping bag with perfume bottles, lands in jail. Sentenced by a lenient judge to perform community service, Felicity gets the necessary training to care for the Primm's new baby. The story is carried on the strength of the warm illustrations, rendered in blotted ink line and soft watercolor washes. Whether this is a story of naturalization or cultural inculcation is unclear and perhaps unimportant, when irresistible scenes include one of Lyle, mirror in hand, practicing his best crooked-grin grimaces. Ages 4-8. (September)
"Warm and witty, the book's multi-level text gets plenty of help from the colorful pictures in Waber's familiar style, which are a joy in themselves." Booklist, ALA
PreS-Gr 3 Lyle the Crocodile is back and, with him, his charming, if socially naive mother, Felicity (``a name of her own choosing''). Less focused than others in the series, this begins with Felicity settling happily into life with the Primm family and her beloved son, Lyle. Meanwhile, Lyle is developing his anti-burglar technique; Mrs. Primm announces she will soon have a baby; and Felicity, ``new to our ways,'' is arrested for shoplifting and sentenced to six months of public service. Felicity chooses hospital work and proves to be a superb nurse. And, of course, this is a great help to the Primms when their new baby, Miranda, is finally born. Waber has a facility with language and rhythm that accounts, at least in part, for the enduring charm of his reptilian hero. It establishes a tone of innocence and earnestness where anything might happen, but everything is bound to turn out all right. His colorful watercolor cartoons show a fine sense of family and place and an energetic use of composition, line, and design. Lovers of Lyleand they are legionwill take this latest chapter in his eventful life immediately to heart. Marcia Hupp, The Ferguson Lib . , Stamford, Conn.