Obit of the Day: Creator of Lyle the Crocodile
Bernard Waber did not plan on becoming a children’s book author. He had hoped to become an illustrator and was doing just that for Condé Nast when he finally published his first children’s book, Lorenzo, in 1961.
It was the next year that Mr. Waber brought his greatest creation to life with the publication of The House on East 88th Street. A tribute to he and his wife’s first home in New York City, audiences fell in love with the unexpected house guest - Lyle the Crocodile.
Seven more Lyle books would follow. But Mr. Waber’s work went beyond the reptilian. He would write seventeen picture books over forty years. His last, Lyle Walks the Dogs (2010), was a collaboration between himself and his daughter Paulis. (The partnership was necessary since Mr. Waber could no longer draw because of macular degeneration.)
Bernard Waber, who attended the Philadelphia College of Art, died on May 16, 2013 at the age of 91.
Sources: Publishers Weekly, Houghton Mifflin, and IndieBound.org
(Cover of Lyle, Lyle Crocodile is copyright of Houghton Mifflin Books for Children and courtesy of amazon.com)
Other children’s authors/illustrators of note on Obit of the Day:
Jan Berenstain - Co-creator of the Berenstain Bears
Leo Dillon - Caldecott Award-winning illustrator of Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears
Maurice Sendak - Author and illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are
Simms Taback - Caldecott Award-winning illustrator and designer of the first McDonald’s Happy Meal
And of course there is OOTD’s Literary page