Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Library Lion

Library Lion

Fall 2006 Picture Books
Ages: 4 - 7 yrs.
Author: Michelle Knudsen
Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 0-7636-2262-1
Hardcover Price: $15.99
Like most institutions, the library in this story has rules about a number of things but not about lions. It does, however, have rules about behavior and when the lion, who has jauntily sauntered in the front door to join story hour, roars in distress when the program is over, the head librarian Miss Merriweather turns stern. “‘If you cannot be quiet, you will have to leave.Those are the rules....’” An agreement is brokered by the children and Miss Merriweather concedes that “‘Yes, a nice quiet lion would certainly be allowed to come back for story hour tomorrow.’” As it turns out, a lion in the library comes in handy: encyclopedia duster when he swishes his tail, stamp licker when he yawns, comfy backrest during story time. Only the officious circulation clerk, Mr. McBee, is discomfited by the idea of a big cat in the stacks and therein lies the tale. Not to worry: even rule-bound circulation clerks can change and, indeed, invent new rules that work even better. This gentle story, which toys with a host of library stereotypes, succeeds by virtue of that most winning of all combinations: humor and humanity. Sensuously thick cream-colored pages, a pale pastel palette, and layouts that vary from full-page spreads to vignettes sprinkled between the lines of text add just the right antique charm to this old fashioned tale.
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2006 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.

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