Knudsen, Michelle, illus. by Kevin Hawkes. Library Lion. Candlewick, 2006. ISBN 978-0763622626 32 pp. $15.99
This is a book that librarians will love because it is about libraries, and that kids will love because it’s about being loud in the library. When a lion walks into the library, no one says peep until he roars in disappointment at the end of storytime. Miss Merriweather insists that rule breaking is not allowed; chiefly, no roaring. The promise of more stories in return for good manners turns the lion into a stellar library volunteer. When the lion breaks rule number one, he self-imposes an exile, and the library is very, very quiet without him.
Hawkes muted illustrations are a throwback to classic libraries and children’s publishing. Soft blues, browns, reds and golds give a warm tone to this tale. The lion appears to be modelled after the New York Public Library’s twin guardians, and the dress of the staff and look of the stacks is decidedly old-fashioned, but card catalogs and computers are featured. Michelle Knudsen’s straightforward story brings up an excellent point: that sometimes rules are meant to be broken, an attitude that we should be embracing in our “everything is in beta” culture.
Sweet but predictable, both the theme and names of the author/illustrator will make this one a popular purchase.