Sunday, October 11, 2009

REVIEW: Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

Waber, B. (1965). Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.


PLOT SUMMARY:  Lyle the Crocodile lives with the Primm family, much to the annoyance of the Primm's neighbors, Mr. Grumps and his cat, Loretta. After the sight of Lyle scares Loretta one too many time, Mrs. Primm decides to take Lyle with her on her errands around New York City. Unfortunately, they end up in the very store Mr. Grumps works in. From there, more troubles arise.

Although Lyle is anthropomorphized in terms of his behavior, animal rights activists occasionally take umbrage with the idea of a crocodile as a domesticated pet. This issue is worth discussion, since children can also consider the advantages and disadvantages of keeping animals in zoos as well.

The book also feels dated through the traditional gender roles Mrs. Primm exhibits and the portrayal of New York city--very 1960s.


This classic picturebook is excellent for discussing what to do if a parent and child become separated in a large store or what to do in case of a fire. Another option would be to discuss how to deal with difficult people, such as Mr. Grump. Or how to deal with leaving home, to attend camp, for example.

A teacher could also encourage students to read information books about crocodiles (and have them learn exactly what are the differences between crocodiles and alligators).

Quotes of Note:

"This is the house. The house on East 88th Street. Mr. and Mrs. Primm and their son Joshua live in the house on East 88th Street. So does Lyle. Listen: SWISH, SWASH, SPLASH, SWOOSH! That's Lyle...Lyle the crocodile."

"Whenever his cat caught even the slightest glimpse of Lyle, she would fling herself into a nervous fit."

"Have you by chance come across a crocodile? His name is Lyle."
"Sorry, madam," answered the salesman, "I have not come across any crocodiles named Lyle today."


On an unrelated note, this appears to be about our 300th POST.  So, that's something to celebrate.

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