It was a tense week in Boston. Surreal even. It felt as though we had stepped out of time and were living in one of those television police dramas that I don’t watch, but hear our middle school students talking about. By Friday, like everyone here, I was tired and anxious. But…Inly’s spring book fair had arrived and there were boxes to unpack. I spent the day alternating between listening to WBUR news updates and and placing early chapter books on racks. It was nice to be surrounded by new books and to “play store,” but still…I was distracted by the events in Boston. I began looking around for something to read and couldn’t settle on anything – until I spotted Lyle Lyle Crocodile Storytime Treasury, a collection honoring the 50th anniversary of The House on East 88th Street by Bernard Waber.
Thinking that it had been a long time since I last read the classic picture book that started the Lyle series, I opened the book and began to read. After finishing The House on East 88th Street, I kept going. I read Lyle Lyle Crocodile, Lyle and the Birthday Party – and even the counting story, Lyle Walks the Dog. I felt completely content and appreciated Lyle more than ever before. I couldn’t figure out why the books seemed so magical and absorbing to me. And then it came to me – they are gentle. In a week that focused on violence and danger, Lyle’s kindness and humor were a respite. I didn’t expect a 50-year-old alligator to make me smile this week, but he did.