Lyle and the Birthday Party

Book review by
Kevin McCaffrey, Common Sense Media
Lyle and the Birthday Party Book Poster Image
An enjoyable story with a good message.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Lyle sulks at Joshua's birthday party.

Violence & Scariness

What 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.

Talk to your kids 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?

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