cover image Lyle Walks the Dogs: A Counting Book

Lyle Walks the Dogs: A Counting Book

Bernard Waber, , illus. by Paulis Waber. . Houghton Mifflin, $12.99 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-547-22323-0

Bernard Waber's beloved crocodile lands a dog-walking job in this peppy story—more than just a counting book—aimed at a younger audience than its predecessors. Debut illustrator Paulis Waber's watercolor, ink, and pencil drawings flawlessly replicate the airiness and humor of her father's iconic art. Every day, Lyle adds another pooch to his responsibilities, each with a distinct personality. Paulis Waber conveys the canines' boundless energy and Lyle's patience and good humor, while the chatty text reaches out to the croc (“Hang on to Frisky, Lyle!”), the dogs (“Come along, Pokey!”), and readers (“Lyle walks 4 dogs. Count them—1-2-3-4”). Sniffy, the 10th and last canine to join the entourage, picks up the scent of a squirrel and gives chase, dragging Lyle and the others with him. But this, like the other mishaps that take place, is resolved in short order. After the mayhem subsides, kids will eagerly chime in as a final head count confirms that all of Lyle's charges are accounted for. The tale concludes with kudos to the protagonist (“Good job, Lyle!”), praise that should extend to the collaborators as well. Ages 3–5. (May)