I have a deep and possibly strange love of Lyle the Crocodile, a character invented by Bernard Waber in the 1960s.
When I worked with kids, I came across one of the Lyle books, which reignited memories from my childhood–taking home ten books a week from my local library and thinking about the stories I would tell about Lyle or other similar animal characters. Coincidentally, one of our project’s sponsors was named Lyle, and he, like Lyle the Crocodile, went off to an office. So one afternoon, I asked Lyle read about Lyle with one of the afterschool groups. It’s one of my favorite memories of that time, since it freezes both the kids and Lyle in time. Lyle found out he had Parkinson’s a few years later and did not live to see the kids he’d worked so hard to support graduate from high school.
So Professional Crocodile was something special before I even opened it. It’s wordless, which I love, although there’s a smattering of language on signs as the crocodile heads to work. Along the way, he rides the subway, picks up some flowers for a co-worker, and puts away his street gear in the staff lockers. There are all kinds of people and animals doing their things, too, with funny expressions across the emotional spectrum, charming details, and moments that show daily life in a big city.
What a treat!
Professional Crocodile by Giovanna Zoboli and Mariachiara Di Giorgio