BERNARD WABER was the beloved author-illustrator of more than thirty picture books, including Courage, Ira Sleeps Over, and Do You See a Mouse? With the publication of The House on East 88th Street in 1962, his Lyle, Lyle Crocodile series of books became a mainstay of children's literature. A Literary Landmark plaque commemorating the adventures of this endearing New York City reptile can now be found on East 88th Street and Bernard Waber's artwork is the subject of a traveling retrospective exhibit, curated by the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. bernardwaber.com.
The immensely likable Ira ( Ira Sleeps Over ) returns, in a story that explores a common childhood dilemmathe parting of best friends when one moves away. Ira's distress upon learning that Reggie is moving to Greendale is compounded by his friend's apparent delight. All Reggie can talk about is how terrific his new home will be; doesn't he care about leaving Ira behind? Ira discovers that Reggie, in his own way, is just as distraught as he is, and the book closes with plans for a weekend reun ion. Waber's appealing, freestyle, slightly cartoony illustrations, coupled with his matter-of-fact text, provide an often funny, always revealing look at children's feelings when they have to say goodbye to someone dear to them. The author's portrayals of the confusing array of emotions are wryly accurate, from Ira's reminiscences of shared moments and his bewilderment at Reggie's outlook to his own feigned indifference (``I will jump for joy the day Reggie moves away,'' he unconvincingly asserts). A warm, wise and ultimately reassuring book. Ages 4-8. (September)
A warm, wise, and ultimately reassuring book. Publishers Weekly
PreS-Gr 4 Best friends Ira and Reggie, whom readers will remember from Ira Sleeps Over (Houghton, 1972), are backbut not for long. Reggie is moving out of town. With much humor and a clear sense of what is important to children, Waber portrays the range of feelings and emotions that accompanies this move. At first both boys are upset at the prospect, then Reggie gets excited about his expectations of his new town (``In Greendale, all people do is have fun,'' watching a killer shark that snorts and riding the thriller rides in the park), making Ira even more upset, and angry. As Reggie is about to leave, though, he bursts into tears and the two boys reconcile. Later that afternoon Reggie calls from Greendale to invite Ira for a weekend visit. Cheerful full-page and vignette watercolors on large white pages bring Ira's first-person narrative alive with style. Ira's concerns reflect those of any child in a similar situation, but its humor is even more universal, so there should be a wide and responsive audience for this funny and moving book. David Gale, ``School Library Journal''