Books by Bernard Waber

ASK ME by Bernard Waber
Kirkus Star
by Bernard Waber, illustrated by Suzy Lee
Released: May 12, 2015

"Sublimely satisfying. (Picture book. 4-8)"
As a little girl and her father take a walk together, the girl directs her dad to ask her questions about what she likes. Read full book review >
LYLE WALKS THE DOGS by Bernard Waber
Released: May 1, 2010

The genial reptile's first new outing in 12 years also debuts an illustrator working in her father's naïve cartoon style. To a rudimentary plot in which Lyle walks one more dog each day for ten days before taking a well-deserved rest she adds not only a growing contingent of canines—each with a distinct look and personality, which is revealed in a thumbnail bio on its first day with Lyle—but tucks balls, bowls, hydrants and other easily findable and countable items into each urban scene. Though given the stance and proportions of a human in an animal suit, Lyle provides a bright-green visual anchor for each picture, and if there isn't much in the way of humor or conflict here—even when being pulled along he looks controlled and confident, although he clearly doesn't like the way Snappy sets the pack to barking—at least there's plenty for pre-reading children to tally and a familiar figure to welcome back. (Picture book. 3-5) Read full book review >
EVIE AND MARGIE by Bernard Waber
Released: Oct. 27, 2003

Evie and Margie are best friends; they do everything together, even dreaming of becoming actors. When tryouts for the class play are announced, they both want the lead role of Cinderella. Margie can cry real tears for the crying scene by thinking about bad things, but Evie can't squeeze out one teardrop. She practices until she becomes exasperated, pretending terrible things happen to her parents, dog, and pet fish. At the tryouts, Evie is chosen as Margie's understudy—and a tree in the forest that says, "Whoosh!" Naturally the day of the performance, Margie has a bad cold so Evie gets to be Cinderella and cries real tears because, among other things, jealousy feels so horrible. Waber has given an original twist to the familiar theme of the test of friendship. His typical illustrations feature hippos as the characters, though the girls appear as a cross between Arthur's sister D.W. and the animals. Fans of Lyle might wonder why with tears as the motif, Waber didn't go for the innuendo and make the characters crocodiles? (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
COURAGE by Bernard Waber
Released: Oct. 28, 2002

Veteran Waber moves from the stridency of Fast Food! Gulp! Gulp! (2001) to a more reflective tally of everyday situations that require courage. His clearest examples range from specific challenges, such as "Courage is riding your bicycle for the first time without training wheels," to such general experiences as trying new foods, breaking bad habits, or "holding on to your dream." Too often, however, he wanders confusingly afield; readers may wonder, for example, what's courageous about admiring but not picking flowers, or "not peeking at the last pages of your whodunit." Wobbly-lined cartoons add touches of humor, while clearing up some of the more elliptical references in the one-liner captions. More suitable for a discussion starter than independent reading, this develops a timely topic in simple, sensitive ways. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
FAST FOOD! GULP! GULP! by Bernard Waber
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

Kids are prime targets of fast food chain marketing, with a corresponding decline in juvenile nutrition that concerns parents and health professionals. Waber (The Mouse That Snored, 2000, etc.) takes a humorous, gently chiding look at our national tendency to grab and gorge with a rollicking, rhyming text incorporating lists of sound-effect words in staccato couplets. ("Slurp, slurp! Burp, burp!") His whimsical watercolors show a variety of anthropomorphic mammals chowing down on both familiar fast food fare and all sorts of additional restaurant dishes that kids like. The confusing story line cuts between a food court and three fast food restaurants, all owned by take-charge male animals who demand ever-faster eating. A closer view of one restaurant shows an all-male counter crew and an all-female kitchen crew, with a female cook (a pig) who abruptly quits because she can't take the pace. She moves on to a better job at the Veggie Hut, whose patrons enjoy "taking time to enjoy the scenery." Some snide rhyming couplets from the fast food customers describe her descent "into a snit." ("Began to pout." "Then walked out.") We all need fewer french fries and more broccoli, but we don't need to see an old-boy network of exclusively male business owners, an outmoded view of an emotional female in the kitchen, or sensitive vegetarians. Humorous illustrations, confusing setting changes, and outmoded stereotypes don't add up to a Happy Meal. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

Waber (Lyle at Christmas, 1998, etc.) introduces another beguiling and worthy creature into an unsuspecting home where it first disrupts, then engages, then makes itself a part. First off, the home is a pretty curious abode of great silence: "the quiet man, the quiet woman, / the quiet cat and bird, / ate their dinner, sipped their drink, / and never spoke a word." They would never eat a radish, for instance, because of the snap-crunch. "They ate instead, / stewed tomatoes, / mashed potatoes, / and puddings made of bread." Into this scene of utter tranquility, one stormy night, enters a mouse, "who was tired and hungry, / and had seen better days." The mouse finds the pantry and starts tucking it in. Sated, he takes a snooze and, oh, how his snores rock the house. "Glassware clinked, / dishes clattered. / A bowl from the cupboard / fell and shattered." Blasted from their sleep, the house's inhabitants hasten to the source of the racket. The mouse explains his dire circumstances, shows contrition, and learns to walk softly in the world. Except for the nighttime, when he continues to snore like a series of gas explosions. Earplugs remedy that annoyance. Live and let live, Waber counsels, we all have our quirks (snoring is a public nuisance, but what about that obsessive/compulsive need for quiet?), and always extend a helping hand to our fellow creatures. Read aloud, Waber's verse is music—"His snores were roars / with whistling encores"—and his artwork roughly handsome, with the deep-dish color of crayons, plus plenty of it is in panels to keep eyes entertained as the verse unwinds. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
LYLE AT CHRISTMAS by Bernard Waber
Released: Oct. 1, 1998

Mr. Grumps's "down-in-the-dumps" approach to the Christmas holiday leads to the disappearance of Lyle's favorite feline friend in this reassuring tale about the love of family and friends. When Loretta, the cat, disappears, the Primm family at East 88th and Mr. Grumps know exactly what they want for Christmas—her safe return. Prunella, the Cat Lady, takes Loretta in; an out-of-work actor, Hector, happens to know both the Primms and Prunella and provides the means (and requisite misunderstandings) to a happy resolution. Waber (Bearsie Bear and the Surprise Sleepover Party, 1997, etc.) demonstrates again an uncanny ability to convey a multitude of emotions in a few strokes, giving each character in the Primm household a distinct personality. Especially charming are the scenes of Lyle engaged in the household chores of washing dishes, making the beds, scrubbing, dusting, sweeping, and waxing. Fans of the big green crocodile will welcome this holiday adventure. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

A humorous cumulative tale that makes a great read-aloud for the very young. A wintry scene shows an isolated house so deep in snow that the road can't be seen. A moose plods its way to the door and knocks; a bear sleeping cozily near his blazing fireplace opens one eye and asks who it is. `` `It's me, Moosie Moose,' said Moosie Moose. `Moosie Moose?' said Bearsie Bear. `Yes, Moosie Moose,' said Moosie Moose.'' The repetition of the already repetitive names continues as more animals join the bear and moose in a wide bed; mild joking transpires as unlikely bedfellows are added: cow, pig, fox, goose. The generosity of the host is strained when a porcupine joins in, and everyone leaves. But the sad faces at the snowy window melt Bearsie Bear's notably large heart, and all find peaceful sleep away from the elements. Waber's familiar watercolors find humor in every scene while warmth and security are the backbone of the story. The reading of the accumulated names every time the animals settle down results in a book that may be too raucous for bedtime, but ideal for story hours. (Picture book. 3-6) Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

A lionness bound for a zoo is dubbed Shirley Williamson due to a bad phone connection. It's a name that draws attention (hordes come to view her), special privileges from Seymour the zookeeper (his deceased wife's name was Shirley and the memories are strong), and resentment from the lions—Goobah, Poobah, and Aroobah. The attention is nice, but what Shirley really pines for is her home on the African savannah. The zoo director renames Shirley Bongo and fires Seymour; the director's incompetent first cousin gets Seymour's job and leaves Shirley's door open, allowing her to flee to Seymour's Brooklyn apartment. Seymour, not a little concerned by the hungry look in Shirley's eye, knows that to keep her as a pet would be impractical. Together, they head zooward. With the same tristful humor he brought to the stories of Lyle Crocodile, Waber (Lyle at the Office, 1994, etc.) makes the best of an imperfect situation, a slice of life without the whipped cream and a cherry on top: Shirley gets her name back—but also her cage. Humor with bite, as it were, given substance by the playful artwork. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
LYLE AT THE OFFICE by Bernard Waber
Released: Sept. 1, 1994

Lyle the crocodile is back and he's in demand, especially when he goes with Mr. Primm to the office. He catches the eye of Primm's boss, Mr. Bigg, who thinks Lyle would be the perfect pitchman for Krispie Krunchie Krackles cereal. Primm says no, which costs him his job. When Halloween arrives, Lyle and the Primms go trick-or- treating and hear cries for help coming from the abandoned house next door. They find Mr. Bigg, who has knocked over his ladder and is stuck holding onto the chandelier. They rescue him and are surprised to hear he will be moving in soon. When Mr. Bigg throws a housewarming party, Lyle and the Primms are invited, and Mr. Primm is offered his job back. This latest addition to the Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile series meanders a bit, but most would follow the lovable Lyle anywhere, and Waber's illustrations are, as usual, completely winning. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1962

"Swish, Swash, Splash, Swoosh," echoed through the Primms' new house on East 88th Street—an ordinary house except for its one eccentric resident — Lyle the crocodile. Warned by Hector P. Valenti, down-and-out star of stage and screen and erstwhile owner of Lyle, to be kind to his pet, the Primms are amply rewarded by the most elegant display of crocodile friendliness. The sweet smell of Lyle's success brings Hector back to claim him and back once again to deposit him, when Lyle sheds a river of crocodile tears for the Primms. Read full book review >