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Lyle, Lyle Crocodile: Lyle Walks The Dogs

by Bernard Waber
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
  • Publishing date: 03/05/2010
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780547223230
  • ISBN: 0547223234

Synopsis

Product Description
Lyle the crocodile has a new job walking dogs. It's a good job for Lyle because he loves dogs. And he loves to walk. And best of all, Lyle loves being helpful to others.

As Lyle's excellent reputation as a dog walker spreads, the number of dogs in his charge grows--one dog soon becomes ten. And whether they're frisky of happy, sniffy of snappy, Lyle must somehow get them all walking together in harmony. But never fear while Lyle is here--his winning smile and gentle ways will always save the doggie day!

Young children will delight in walking the dogs--and counting from one to ten--with Lyle.



A Q&A with Bernard and Paulis Waber, Authors of Lyle Walks the Dogs

Q: How did the idea for Lyle Walks the Dogs originate?

A: Bernie: The urge to write for the very youngest--babes in arms, kids on laps,crawlers, pre-schoolers--has intrigued and tempted me for years. I love the demand of the early books for precise, clear language coupled with the potential for reaching lyrical heights. The spark to write for this joyously receptive audience ignited again and again particularly at signings where I was delightfully struck by the attachment even the youngest had for Lyle. Kids have an insatiable curiosity. They want to know everything about everything. They like words, reciting the alphabet. They like numbers. They like to count. Launching an early book series with a counting book, Lyle Walks the Dogs was intriguing and probably inevitable.

Paulis: My father and I had talked for a while about his doing some Lyle books for younger readers. He wrote both Lyle Walks the Dogs and the book we're now working on Lyle, Lyle, Hello, Hello with this group of readers in mind. In Lyle Walks the Dogs he has told me how he enjoyed visualizing the personalities of the dogs and the potential to express that in both the writing and drawings. It was also an opportunity to highlight some of Lyle's wonderful characteristics. I'm very happy my father decided to do these books because I believe that Lyle, who is so wonderfully sweet, caring, and joyful, is a character that very young readers will love.

Q: What was it like creating this book as a team?

A: Bernie: Natural, rewarding and wonderful. But with long and late hours of illustrating, I know that Paulis did the heavy lifting. My three children--and grandchildren--grew up with Lyle. He was a sibling of sorts. When it was apparent that my diminishing vision due to macular degeneration precluded my working on illustrations, Paulis, an artist in her own right, courageously stepped up to the plate. With the aid of magnifying equipment, it was immediately obvious to me that her brilliantly conceived illustrations captured Lyle's essence. We enjoyed long walks breathing in New York City, wrapping ourselves in its history, charm and vitality, snapping pictures of dogs and people, an altogether happy and enriching collaborative journey.

Paulis: My father and I have always been great friends, literally from day one you could say. Doing this book together added a new dimension of collaboration to a relationship I've always found harmonious and sustaining. We had wonderful times, in person and by phone, laying out the book and developing the illustration ideas. I enjoyed watching my father describe how Lyle would move, or what his face would look like in a certain circumstance (to illustrate he'd make the face himself), or how Lyle would feel in a given situation (often surprisingly similar to how my father would feel). Alone at my illustration table in Washington, DC, I found it satisfying to remember that the comfortably seasoned and spattered drawing table I work on was once my father's drawing table and thus no stranger to Lyle. I also hope that my assuming the illustrator role in creating the Lyle books has made a difficult challenge a tiny bit easier for my father. He's coped wonderfully with the loss of vision he's experienced from macular degeneration, but losing the experience of illustrating his books has been painful. I hope that planning the illustrations together, and knowing that he's sharing and turning over something wonderful to one of his children, has helped.

I also had an important experience at the time I was beginning to illustrate Lyle. Our editor reminded me of an exhibition in New York City that featured artwork from both of Babar's creators, Jean and Laurent de Brunhoff. It meant a great deal to me to see how Laurent, who is the son of Jean, had preserved Babar but was able to develop him in his own way.

Q: Were there any challenges in creating this book?

A: Bernie: Creating a book is always challenging. The goal for excellence is in itself challenging. There are infinite choices--voice, pictures, concept, shape, design and occasional, unpredictable glitches to resolve. I think honest, head to head problem solving furthers the richness of a book.

Paulis: I might not describe them as challenges, but I think I can say the experience offered me new insights into my father's character. As two artists working together we occasionally disagreed, but although we sometimes each felt strongly about our own viewpoints, it was not personal, it came from a mutual dedication to making the best book possible. Other times I had new opportunities to learn from him, not only in creating the illustrations but in learning how to pursue the best outcome in all aspects of the book's production, right up to the printing press. As Hector P. Valenti said about Lyle, "He must have tender, loving care because he is an artist." I think Hector means that artists are not always easy to be with, but they're worth the trouble.

Q: Do you plan to work on additional books together?

A: Bernie: As a matter of fact, as we speak, we are about to embark on a second book, Lyle, Lyle, Hello, Hello, a day in the life of Lyle the Crocodile featuring city hustle and bustle. With Lyle, readers will enjoy city life, traffic, crowds, buildings, bridges, ferry boats and a sudden thunder storm. Working on the book will involve much New York City research and we hope lots of good fun.

Q: Are you thinking about and planning independent projects?

A: Bernie: We love working together, but I am happy to know that Paulis has independent ideas and scripts.

Paulis: Yes. I have to admit that I'm a closet writer. Over the course of my three children’s growing up years I have written a number of stories, including one about my father. I plan to begin submitting my own work and hope some of it will find its way into print. Illustrating Lyle is a wonderful joy and an honor and I'd feel the same way about having the opportunity to illustrate books for children that I've written myself.

(B&W photo © Ethel Waber )
(Color photo © Reuben Gordon)





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