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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and The House on East 88th Street by Bernard Waber

LyleLyle6Today, to make up for the missing episode last week, you get a twofer. You see, there’s a bit of a problem with old Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile. Most people remember the title of the second book in the series, but are we to ignore Book #1? I gave Kate the chance to decide which one to do, so what did she decide? To do both, of course! In the course of things we discuss alligators vs. crocodiles, who exactly this “Salt Bae” person is, the interior decorating schemes of the early 60s, and (we can both agree) the fact that Hector P. Valenti is a serious jerkwad.

Listen to the whole show here on Soundcloud or download it through iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, PlayerFM, or your preferred method of podcast selection.

 Show Notes:


– I should have mentioned to Kate when we were debating the location, that this has to be NYC because you see ice skating at Rockefeller Center in Lyle, Lyle.

– I mean, right there, I ask you, who decorates a chandelier with eggs? What’s that? You think they’re light bulbs? I dunno. I kinda like my egg theory.


– Helloooooo, 1962 wallpaper and bright red door!


– Here are the two crocodile/alligator books I’ve read this year and have particularly enjoyed. Check them out folks!

The Truth About Crocodiles by Maxwell Eaton III


Beware of the Crocodile by Martin Jenkins, ill. Satoshi Kitamura


– Oh, Hector P. Valenti, star of stage and screen, whence the white cowboy hat?


– My favorite picture in the whole thing. I have this weakness for animals trapped in a living hell (see: my review of Let’s Have a Dog Party).



– “. . . teaching what appears to be the teenage boy basic math . . .” Though, I would like to say that there’s something about Lyle’s expression in this picture that amuses me greatly.


– Salt Bae a.k.a. Nusret Gökçe. Here’s a side by side comparison. Who salted it better?


– How big are a crocodile’s feet and could you fit a pair of ice skates on one? The mystery lives on.


– “Don’t you DARE get my pajama bottoms…”


– Okay, clever readers. You figured out the road flares in Harry the Dirty Dog. You determined the use of the open flame on the cover of Doctor DeSoto. What does it mean to “signal the alarm” when there is a fire?


– For Kate, this is the most terrifying image in the whole book.


– *gulp*!


– As I mentioned, there was a 1987 TV special for HBO. I never saw it, but you can see a low-quality view of one of the songs here:

– Compare it then to The Lifeline Theatre production. I think I know which song I like more:

– Hat tip to Ms. Yingling for identifying the bombs in Harry the Dirty Dog as road flares. Here is what they look like:


And how they were drawn:


About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. I’m pretty sure the “signal the alarm” is referring to using one of these:

  2. It’s funny, but I always thought of “The House on East 88th Street” as the quintessential Lyle book. In spite of the second book’s more obvious title, it always seemed to pale in comparison. Leonard Marcus writes about Lyle in his wonderful “Storied City,’ a guided tour of children’s book settings in NYC. Maybe the NYC setting seemed more memorable to me in the first book.
    The HBO Family Musicals were good. Two others worthy of mention were “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel” and “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”
    Thanks for once again calling attention to a classic.

  3. Aw! I’d forgotten how much I love Lyle! Thanks for putting me in a much better mood this morning! 🙂 I still look forward to listening to every episode!

  4. I agree, Lyle the character is memorable, but the plots of the books, not so much. My personal favorite Waber book is Ira Sleeps Over.