I was saddened to learn that Bernard Waber, the creator of Lyle, died last week at the age of 91. As regular readers know, Lyle is one of my all-time favorite children’s book characters. Even in a city that is home to many famous “characters,” Lyle has to be one of the most famous New Yorkers in the world. He arrived at The House on East 88th Street in 1963 – 50 years ago! And in each of the adventures that followed, Lyle remained a gentle and kind alligator. The opening lines from Lyle at the Office capture the big green guy perfectly:
“Everybody thought Lyle the Crocodile was funny –
not silly funny, or funny looking,
just plain funny.
And wherever he went, Lyle always made people smile
and forget their troubles.”
You can’t ask for more than that from anyone!
In other news….Kate DiCamillos’s new novel, Flora & Ulysses will be published on September 24. The 240-page novel is about a girl and her squirrel and includes graphic sequences drawn by K.G. Campbell.
Have you seen this? A couple of weeks ago, the Huffington Post had an article about the “genderization” of books. You know what I mean…the way book covers announce whether they are “boy” books or “girl” books. Author Maureen Johnson asked people to re-imagine covers of well-known books and the results are fascinating. The slide show is at the bottom of the article – and is totally worth checking out. If you want to see this phenomena in action, visit a school or public library and watch kids “judge books by the cover.” Like many libraries, Inly has a large selection of books about trucks and cars. Every so often, when a girl is looking at those books, one of her friends will say “that’s not our section.” Of course, there are no gender-specific sections in the library, but somewhere along the line, that message has been delivered.
Here’s the link to the Huffington Post article: