Bernard Waber, the author of The House on East 88th Street, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and other classic kid’s books, has passed away.
After World War II, the young artist changed his plans to study finance and took on art instead. he The House on East 88th Street captured his memories of moving to New York City as a young artist and newlywed. He shared his memories in a moving essay:
My involvement with children’s books originated with some illustrations of children I carried in my art portfolio. Several art directors suggested that my drawings seemed suited for children’s books. At the same time, I was also having read-aloud sessions with my own three children. I am afraid enthusiasm for “their” books began, in fact, to cause them occasional discomfort. “Daddy, why don’t you look at the grownups’ books?” they once chided as I trailed after them into the children’s room of our local library. Before long I was mailing out stories and ideas to publishers. Rejections followed, but after a time a cheery encouragement arrived from Houghton Mifflin Company, and to my delight, a contract was offered for Lorenzo. In one way or another, I seem to find myself thinking of children’s books most of the time.