A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Mr. Bigg fires Mr. Primm, but regrets it afterward.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that fans of the series will enjoy the story and like seeing Mr. Primm's work, but the art has completely lost the bold lines that characterized the earlier books.
Is It Any Good?
Mr. Primm provides here a sterling example of putting family first and standing up for one's beliefs -- quietly and calmly, but also firmly and without hesitation. "Lyle is a very private crocodile," he says, and that's the end of the discussion. Of course some young children may be confused by the issue. Wouldn't it be cool to be on a cereal box or in a commercial? Waber never explains why it's a problem, but adults reading this book with their children can open that discussion themselves.
As the decades have gone by, Waber's art has changed considerably. The first book, The House on East 88th Street, published in 1962, was notable for its bold, black lines and its simplicity, which together conveyed a childlike quality that adults and children alike recognized. Over the years his art has become more refined, colorful, detailed, and sophisticated -- it's still very good, but it's lost that distinctive innocence. Nonetheless, Lyle still delights and entertains, while exemplifying the virtues of friendship, helpfulness, and devotion to family that have been the hallmark of the series.
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