Friday, September 27, 2013

Remembering Bernard Waber on his Birthday

Today would have been the birthday of Bernard Waber, a classic and local (to me) children's book author/illustrator. He would have been 92 today if he had not died this past May. He's probably most known for Lyle the Crocodile but is also very well known for Ira Sleeps Over. All of his books were favorites of mine as a child. Here is a list of his work.

Bernard Waber introduced Lyle to readers in 1962 in The House on East 88th Street. This book was about Mr. and Mrs. Joseph F. Primm and their son, Joshua. One day, they find a young crocodile in the bathroom of their new house.

"They take the animal in and, for the next four decades, Lyle would take readers on adventures filled with life lessons on acceptance, inclusion and the importance of enjoying the journey. The covers of the books sometimes suggested they were best suited for ages 4 to 8, but Mr. Waber’s understated wit appealed to plenty of parents" (New York Times).

 Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile also inspired two different musical adaptations: an animated musical that was shown on HBO and a theatrical musical staged by Theatreworks USA.

To me, Bernard Waber's legacy will live forever in the form of the HBO animated musical, most particularly, in the scene shown below. This isn't my video (and is the only one I could find online) but I watched this so many times as a kid that I'll have a spot in my heart for it forever. Enjoy:

"I tried to smile, but darn you Lyle, I would never leave you."

Bernard Waber was born 92 years ago today in Philadelphia. He briefly studied accounting at the University of Pennsylvania before enlisting in the Army during World War II. After the war, he enrolled in the Philadelphia College of Art, and in the 50's, he moved to New York. He worked as a designer and illustrator for several magazines, including Life, where he worked for 20 years. Casually, he created his Lyle character, but when he pitched it early on, the concept was rejected by publishers. In 1961 he published his first book, “Lorenzo,” about the adventures of a young fish. This was when Lyle was finally given a chance! The House on East 88th Street was published on August 13, 1975.

"'I don’t know where the idea came from,' Mr. Waber told The Times in 1995. 'But I always loved drawing animals. I especially like to draw crocodiles. I like the way they walk, and I like their eyes and their teeth and everything about them'" (New York Times).

Why not celebrate Lyle at home? This page has everything you need to have a Lyle party for children ages 3 and up.

Or check out one of his many, wonderful books.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Roald Dahl Day!

It's officially Roald Dahl Day! This day takes place every year on September 13th, Roald Dahl's birthday. This year (today), Roald Dahl Day coincides with Friday 13th, making it the perfect excuse for even more mischief and mayhem than usual. So this year, the day celebrates all the tricky characters that fill Roald Dahl's books, including George and his medicine, the Witches, and Matilda's parent-scaring tricks.

Want to join the fun? Click here for all kinds of fun printable activities, like posters, games, and activity books!

And, remember to check out one of Roald Dahl's wonderful stories at the library!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them... the movie.

There's news on the J.K. Rowling front! According to this New York Times article, a deal has been made with J.K. Rowling to create new movies! And for the first time, Rowling will become a screenwriter!

Her movie, planned to be the first in a new series, is an adaptation of the Hogwarts textbook "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," a book that extends the world of Harry Potter wizardry to a different character named Newt Scamander. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world," says J.K Rowling. "The laws and customs of hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt's story will start in New York, 70 years before Harry's gets underway."

But wait! There's more.

Warner Brothers studio (who's releasing this film and who also released all the Harry Potter films) said that the agreement would also allow them to create new attractions and initiatives connected with its existing Harry Potter theme park at Universal Studios. Also, in television, the deal also makes Warner Brothers the global distributor of a BBC miniseries based on "The Casual Vacancy," J.K. Rowling's first (and, as of now, only) novel for adults.

To read the complete New York Times article, click here.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Back-to-School Reads

It's time. The school year is about to begin! If you've got the fir day jitters, we've got books for you! Here are some back-to-school books that might help ease your mind on your first day:

Adventure Annie Goes to Kindergarten by Toni Buzzeo

Butterflies in my Stomach and Other School Hazards by Serge Bloch

Billy and the Big New School by Laurence Anholt

Cam Jansen and the First Day of School Mystery by David A. Adler

Amanda Pig, Schoolgirl by Jean Van Leeuwen

Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School by Herman Parish

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Don't Eat the Teacher! by Nick Ward

Or come by the library and ask the librarian for another great, first-day-of-school book. We've got tons! Good luck this school year, everybody!
Copyright 2009 Laura Druda