Lyle and the Birthday Party

Common Sense Media says

An enjoyable story with a good message.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Lyle sulks at Joshua's birthday party.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that a birthday party, jealous feelings, and a trip to the hospital all rolled into one appeals to kids, but the story is a bit preachy, and the art is not quite as consistently detailed or charming as in previous books in the series.

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What's the story?

Helping prepare for Joshua's birthday party, Lyle feels the pangs of jealousy. His moody behavior, combined with a series of misunderstandings, lands him in the hospital. But there he finds the cure lies in helping others. The lesson comes on strong, but the story and pictures are still entertaining.

Is it any good?


Though the language isn't overly complicated, there is a lot of dialogue in this story, which make it more of a challenge to read aloud than other entries in the series. The path that leads Lyle to the hospital may confuse younger listeners, who will certainly need an explanation of hospital rules, here carried to an absurd extreme.

There's a lot of story here for Waber's art to enhance, and not all of it is up to his usual standards of detail and interest. But it works as a package, the message is a good one, and children still enjoy the story.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about hospital stays and what they might entail. Why might you be scared to be a patient? What can you do to calm those fears? What can the doctors and nurses (and your parents) do to help you feel better?

Book details

Author:Bernard Waber
Illustrator:Bernard Waber
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Children's Books
Publication date:August 31, 1973
Number of pages:48

This review of Lyle and the Birthday Party was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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