Monday, December 3, 2007

The House on East 88th Street
By Bernard Waber
ISBN-10: 0395199700
ISBN-13: 978-0395199701
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published: 1990, Houghton Mifflin Books

Originally published in 1962, The House on East 88th Street is the first Lyle the Crocodile book by Bernard Waber. The House on East 88th Street opens with the Primm family moving into their new home, decorating and unpacking. Mrs. Primm opens the bathroom door to find a crocodile soaking in the tub! Just as Mr. and Mrs. Primm are in the midst of panic, young Joshua Primm finds a man by the name of Signor Valenti at the front door with a note, explaining that he is leaving Lyle with the family and will be back later. In the meantime, Lyle has emerged from the bathroom and is ready to perform some of his trademark acrobatics to impress the Primms.

Lyle settles in with the Primms and becomes part of the family. They take him everywhere they go, and he integrates well into society. When his tricks begin to attract the public's attention, Signor Valenti returns to retreive his stage partner and collect the profits for himself. Will the Primms ever see Lyle again?

Being the introduction to Lyle the Crocodile, The House on East 88th Street is a bit rough and unpolished. The illustrations aren't as colorful and smooth as those in later releases, and the storyline lacks the moral undertone of Lovable Lyle. However, it provides some important background on how Lyle came to live with the Primms. It's still a fun story and my children didn't enjoy it any less than Lovable Lyle. In this case, I would even suggest readers to might want to begin with a newer Lyle book and read The House on East 88th Street afterward. Regardless, Lyle the Crocodile is a classic character that continues to entertain children decades after his initial publication.

Related article:
Review: Lovable Lyle by Bernard Waber

Lyle the Crocodile books by Bernard Waber:


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