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  • Eye of the Beholder
  • Written by Daniel Hayes
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Eye of the Beholder

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Tyler and Lymie are sick in bed and bored out of their minds. But while their hometown plans a festival for a famous local artist, and folks scramble to find his last known works of art, the boys hatch a clever plot.

Tyler and Limy create their own sculptures as a joke and discard them near the artist's studio. But when the sculptures are found and determined to be authentic, the art world is suddenly abuzz with news of the amazing discovery--and two boys with great imaginations are in a hilarious heap of trouble. . . .
Daniel Hayes

About Daniel Hayes

Daniel Hayes - Eye of the Beholder
Daniel Hayes lives in Schaghticoke, New York, and teaches English at Troy High School. Eye of the Beholder is his second novel.
Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide


Plot Summary

The quiet, unsuspecting town of Wakefield is in for another jolt. Tyler McAllister and Lymie Lawrence are at it again! The terrible twosome have been quarantined together with the chicken pox, and their young minds begin to work overtime. With the approaching celebration of one of Wakefield's favorite sons, the early twentieth-century sculptor Badoglio, the boys decide to get in on the act.

Legend has it that a young and frustrated Badoglio threw two of his partially completed heads into the Hoosickill River. As a part of this year's celebration, the river is scheduled to be dredged in an effort to recover the lost works of art.

What could be more perfect and tailor-made for the boys? Lymie is the actual inventor of the idea. He believes that they can fool the townspeople by making their own stone heads and throwing them into the river. It doesn't take long to convince Tyler that this isn't such a bad idea.

The heads are created in Tyler's garage using the tools of the McAllister's groundskeeper, Chuckie, and are completed in two days. Tyler models for Lymie's work of art and Lymie returns the favor for Tyler. After ruining several drill bits, the job is done. Chuckie later learns that his tools have been used and the drill bits damaged, and he explodes. His anger changes to hilarity when he learns that the boys consider the stones works of art. Lymie is so insulted that he leaves.

The next day, Lester Phillips, an unexpected guest arrives at the McAllister's home. His parents have unknowingly left Lester at the local ice cream shop. Lester ends up spending the night at the McAllisters' because his parents car won't start. While touring the McAllister property, Lester discovers Tyler's stone head and insists on taking it up to Tyler's room. Mrs. McAllister sees the head, but thinks it is merely another of Tyler's creative endeavors.

Lymie comes to Tyler's house the following evening and instructs Tyler to get his head. The two bike to the river and deposit the "art" into the water.

The neighborhood kids band together for some Halloween mischief, which targets the town's self-proclaimed vigilantes, the Keepouts. The plan is to tell all of the parents they are at the school dance, when in reality their pockets are stuffed with eggs and tomatoes, ready for action. The night goes awry in a big way when the Keepouts capture Tyler and take him into their house as a hostage. Tyler soon realizes as they tie him to a chair and even hold a gun to his head, that he is dealing with two psychos! He is pleading for mercy when he hears the sound of shattering glass. The next thing Tyler knows, the police have broken in to rescue him. They strongly reprimand the Keepouts for their actions and take Tyler home to his mother.

Needless to say, both Mrs. McAllister and Chuckie were very upset about Tyler's experience with the Keepouts. Chuckie wants Mrs. McAllister to press charges, but she decides to put it on the back burner for the time being. Tyler sleeps late the next morning and does not attend the head-dredging ceremony. He does, however, receive a call from an excited Lymie, who reports that the heads have been found. Tyler doesn't share his excitement, realizing that more trouble is just around the corner.

Chuckie is the first to figure out that the newly found Badoglio heads are the creations of Tyler and Lymie. Using some verbal finesse, he slowly pries the truth from Tyler. Chuckie makes light of the situation, but Tyler is not amused.

Mrs. Estelle Hildegarde, the resident patron of the arts in Wakefield, has invited two art critics from New York City to authenticate the heads. All of the town officials are making quite a fuss over them. They all enter Mrs. HildegardeÍs house together, as the excited townspeople look on.

Tyler is convinced that the stress of the entire "head escapade" has thrown him into a full-blown depression, while Lymie seems to be taking it all in stride. With their friends Mary Grace and Babette, they watch people milling around City Hall. Babette can't understand Tyler's overconcern about the heads. Another local character, who is totally unimpressed by all of the hoopla, is gameroom/greasy-spoon owner, Buster Rudzinski. He not only shows disdain for the art, but also for the art critics and the citizens of Wakefield. An amused Chuckie believes that the art critics will certainly see the heads as fakes. The worst that will happen is that there will be some disappointed residents of Wakefield.

Tyler's peace of mind is short-lived. He and his mother arrive at the park to wait in line to view the heads, which are being housed in a trailer. Mrs. McAllister passes the time talking to other people, while Tyler tries to get a glimpse of what's ahead. Once inside the trailer, Tyler is horrified to see that the critics have indeed deemed the stone heads as early works of Badoglio's. To further complicate matters, Mrs. McAllister realizes that the head displayed in the trailer and the one she saw days earlier in Tyler's bedroom are one and the same.

Tyler's mother is beyond furious as she discovers Tyler's latest prank and that Chuckie has had knowledge of it all along. To defuse the situation, Chuckie suggests that the boys confess to the critics, which would allow them to exit the situation with some dignity. They could then announce that, upon further inspection, they discovered that the heads were clever imitations. Mrs. McAllister is relieved by the idea, but she thinks that Lymie's mother needs to be made aware of the situation.

Furious with Tyler for "spilling the beans," Lymie comes looking for him. As a fight is about to break out, Babette grabs Lymie by the collar. The boys are forced to explain why they are so angry. Once the secret is out, they all try to come up with a way for the boys to confess. In the meantime, Buster Rudzinski strolls up. A somewhat imposing figure, he gets Tyler to blurt out the big secret.

Lymie screams at Tyler, not trusting his fate to the hands of Buster, who has said that he will take care of everything. The boys decide not to reveal this latest detail when they meet their mothers in the park. The next thing they know, Buster is up on the podium with the other dignitaries. Buster proceeds with the introductions of the honored guests. He allows Mrs. Hildegarde and the "experts" to say just enough to successfully humiliate themselves before Buster "drops the bomb." The gleeful Rudzinski takes great pleasure in announcing the names of the true artists, Tyler and Lymie. Big ol' Buster has totally embarrassed those who had always regarded him with utter disdain.

After the boys receive a verbal thrashing from the dignitaries, the decision is made. In order to save face, they must all admit their mistake and laugh publicly at the joke. Tyler and Lymie are hustled off to the shelter of their respective homes. Tyler vows that this time he has learned his lesson.

The heads are auctioned off as collectors items for five thousand dollars. The money will revert to the Wakefield Library. An irate Lymie believes that the money is rightfully theirs. He calls Tyler to tell him that he has been contacted by an attorney, who wants to represent them. Tyler wonders if perhaps they should talk to the guy. After all, how could it hurt?


Questions for Discussion

Chapters 1-5

Answer the following in complete sentences, using specific details from the novel.

1. Explain why Tyler and Lymie were confined together. Would you say that this arrangement was successful? Why or why not?

2. Explain the meaning of the last two sentences on page 10. How might these words be significant to the plot of the novel?

3. How was Tyler's background different from Lymie's? What kinds of things did they have in common?

4. Who was Badoglio? What kind of art form was he famous for? Why were Tyler and Lymie interested in him?

5. What evidence does the reader have that Lymie, especially, had little knowledge of art?

6. Describe the episode at the country club when the boys got into trouble. How did Reginald figure into the picture?

7. Why did Tyler wish that he were somebody like Toddie Phillips?

8. Tyler's mother believed that discipline should take the form of reasoning with the child and discussion of the problem. Why did Mrs. McAllister want Chuckie to speak to Tyler? How did her idea work out?

9. Describe, in detail, Lymie's "brilliant idea." How did he propose they carry it out?

10. On page 29, there is a sentence that reads, " I looked over and saw Mom. Her face was like one of those angry faces they draw in Mad Magazine."

A. What kind of figure of speech is used in the sentence?
B. Draw what you think Mrs. McAllister's face looked like.

Chapters 6-8

1. On page 151, Tyler calls Lymie " Lymie-Angelo." To whom was Tyler comparing Lymie? Who was this person?

2. Describe the final outcome of Tyler and Lymie's first attempt at sculpting.

3. What was Chuckie's reaction to the boys use of his tools?

4. Explain why Lymie left in such a huff.

5. How did Lester Phillips come to be a guest at the McAllister home?

6. Why did Tyler want his mother to see the bathtub ring after Lester took his bath? Why didn't his mother make any comment about the condition of the tub?

7. List three things Tyler did for Lester which showed that Tyler was a considerate host.

8. In chapter 8, the reader is introduced to Mary Grace Madigan and Babette Flosdorf. Which girl did Tyler like better? Why?

9. What did the boys do with the sculpted heads at the end of chapter 8? How could their actions lead to a great deal of trouble?

Chapters 9-11

Who are the Keepouts? Why are they the targets of the "Halloween fun"?

2. Describe, using specific details from the novel, what happened to Tyler at the hands of the Keepouts.

3. Mrs. McAllister opted not to press charges against the Keepouts. What are your feelings about her decision? How would your parents have reacted?

4. What are some of the possible results now that the sculpted heads have been found?

5. Why does Tyler seek out Chuckie for advice concerning the discovery of the sculpted heads? What does Chuckie have to say?

Chapters 12-14

Explain who Mrs. Estelle Hildegarde is. What connection does she have with the now-famous heads?

2. Tyler realizes that he and Babette have something in common. Explain this statement.

3. Would your parents want you to hang around Buster Rudzinski? Why or why not?

4. Why is Tyler so nervous about what the art critics will say?

5. Tyler tells Chuckie that he has severe clinical depression. Cite three reasons that he feels this way.

6. Chuckie is much more than an employee in the McAllister household. Explain this statement using examples from the novel.

7. To Tyler's horror, what was the decision of the art critics?

Chapters 15-19

When did Tyler's mother first see his sculpted head? What was her reaction when she saw it for the second time in the trailer?

2. What was Chuckie's plan to get the boys off the hook?

3. Teens often do not consider the far-reaching effects of their actions. In your opinion, why is that true?

4. Some children often avoid telling their parents the complete truth about certain situations. Why do you think this is? Explain.

5. How did Buster persuade Tyler to reveal his secret? Why was Buster so interested in what a bunch of kids were doing?

6. Buster uttered one word after taking a few minutes to digest Tyler's story. Why did he choose the word, "Beautiful"?

7. Describe, using details from chapter 18, Buster's way of taking care of the situation.

8. Many people in Wakefield had "looked down their noses" at Buster. How did he get the last laugh on Mrs. Hildegarde, the mayor, and especially, the art critics?

9. What does the figure of speech, "saving face," mean? How did the art critics and some of Wakefield's leading citizens save face in light of a rather embarrassing situation?

10. Reread chapter 21. Do you think that Tyler and Lymie will act on this latest offer? Explain your feelings.

11. "Epilogue" means what happens to the characters after the story ends. Write your own epilogue for EYE OF THE BEHOLDER.

12. We all depend on so-called experts for many things in our lives. After reading this novel, why might you be more cautious before you believe what an "expert" has to say?

13. What does the title, EYE OF THE BEHOLDER, mean?

Who Am I?

Each one of the following describes a character from the novel. Identify each character.

1. I was a famous artist. In fact, I lived in Wakefield for a period of time.

2. My parents are farmers. WeÍve lived in Wakefield for a long time. If I do say so myself, I come up with some pretty brilliant ideas.

3. Who says I'm a bully (even though I am a girl)? I just don't feel like being pushed around or being made fun of.

4. So, you all think that you're better than me, huh? Maybe you don't like the business I run or the way I look; but at least I don't pretend to be some snooty expert!

5. Having a mom and a brother who are both famous isn't always as glamorous as it sounds! Every time I mess up, it might make the papers!

6. Ty-wer sure has a big house and a GREAT bathtub! I wish my parents would forget me more often!

7. I am the local art expert here in Wakefield. I was very upset to learn about the boys prank! I was humiliated in front of the New York art critics!

8. Working for the McAllisters is never dull! If there's not something to fix, there are always my little conferences with Tyler.

9. If you dare to step one foot on our property, you're going to pay the price!!! So what if we have guns? This is the good ol' U.S. of A. and we have our rights!!

10. It's a wonder that every hair on my head isn't gray! It's not easy being a single mother! I'm trying to keep my son's life as normal as possible, but it's a real challenge!

"The Tyler Times"

This could be a great opportunity to use cooperative learning, writing skills, word processing skills, editing skills, and other creative skills in your classroom.

Make a mini newspaper called the Tyler Times, which will feature the trials and tribulations of Tyler and Lymie and the residents of Wakefield.

Divide the class into five groups. Each group will be responsible for a page in the newspaper, including pictures, cartoons, and advertisements.


Page one: Local news
Page two: Entertainment
Page three: Society
Page four: Sports
Page five: Editorial and letters to the editor

This will also be a good opportunity to review the different sections of the newspaper and the kinds of stories that are included on those pages.

News story: Tyler and Lymie's fake heads and the turmoil it caused in the community.

Society: Mrs. Hildegarde hosts a reception in honor of the New York art critics.

Entertainment: A story about the Badoglio Festival.

Sports: Babette wants to be the first girl on the school football team.

Editorial: Students will write letters to the editor about the boys prank.


Additional Activities

·The people of Wakefield seemed to really enjoy T-shirts and bumper stickers promoting some cause. Design either a T-shirt or bumper sticker to promote or advertise something in your school or community.

·Write your own courtroom drama where Tyler and Lymie have contacted the attorney mentioned at the end of the novel and are suing to get their money back. Make your own video using the script you wrote.

·Write one of your own reviews of this novel on the Web. Choose a site such as Amazon.com

·E-mail the author, Daniel Hayes, through his homepage @ ·http://danielhayes.com

·Join forces with an art teacher and use this book as a basis for an interdisciplinary unit where literature meets art appreciation or even sculpture.

·Make up ten questions that you would most like to ask one of the characters in this novel. Interview another student who would have to take on the personality of that character.

·Have your students research the modern artists Tyler and Lymie were looking up in Chapter 2.



Directions: For each word,do the following:

Find the most widely used definition of that word in the dictionary.

What is the meaning of the word as it is used in the context of the sentence.

Use the word correctly in a sentence of your own.

Chapters 1-5

1. vulnerable p.2
2. calisthenics p.3
3. incubation period p.5
4. dredge p.10
5. reflection p. 24

Chapters 6-8

1. convulsions p.54
2. three-dimensional p. 61
3. embankment p. 69

Chapters 9-12

1. encroachers p. 72
2. premises p.72

Chapters 9-12

1. mono p.108
2. elongation p.115
3. invaluable p.118
4. evolution p. 118
5. radiating p.119
6. devious p. 125
7. indiscreet p. 139

Chapters 17-21

1. visceral p. 156
2. esteemed p. 159


About the Author of this Guide

Mary Ann Wildman currently teaches a class called RCT (reading, communications, and theater) at North Side Middle School in Anderson, Indiana. She received her BA from Butler University and her MA from Ball State University. She resides in Anderson with her husband and two sons.

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