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The House on East 88th Street
by Bernard Waber

"This is the house.  The house on East 88th Street.  It is empty now, but it won't be for long."

First published in 1962, this children's classic marks the beginning of a series of books featuring the adventures of one bright green & lovable Lyle the Crocodile.

Set in a brownstone on Manhattan's Upper East Side, The House on East 88th Street is the story of the Primm family, who, upon moving in to their new home, discover a crocodile soaking in their bathtub.  They soon discover that Lyle is quite useful at all sorts of things, from taking out the trash to entertaining them with acrobatic tricks.  Before long, he is happily ensconced in their family.  In this delightful tale, Mr. Waber makes the idea of a pet crocodile not quite so scary (well, not really).

The exact address on East 88th Street has been debated, but according to an article by Randy Cohen of the NY Times, the mystery address can be found inside the book:  "The clue comes in an illustration: the amiable reptile stands on his front stoop looking at a house to his left marked No. 234. That puts Lyle's own house at No. 236. Alas, a visit to the block shows not the charming brownstone where Lyle lolled but an ordinary tenement. Lyle's house, like Lyle, is fiction."

While I must admit I find this news a bit disappointing (I had hoped there'd be a romantic tale of Mr. Waber living in the brownstone, or admiring the particular address from a distance) the imagination is a wonderful thing, no?  To step inside the world of this eccentric reptile-loving NYC family never fails to disappoint.



Alexia said...

Just stopping by to say "hello".

Sarah at The Stroller Ballet said...

This is a great review. I think I would love this book!! Totally something I would have read as a child.

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