by Michelle Kundsen & Kevin Hawkes
Publication: July 2006 from Candlewick Press
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I loved it!
Miss Merriweather, the head librarian, is very particular about rules in the library. No running allowed. And you must be quiet. But when a lion comes to the library one day, no one is sure what to do. There aren’t any rules about lions in the library. And, as it turns out, this lion seems very well suited to library visiting. His big feet are quiet on the library floor. He makes a comfy backrest for the children at story hour. And he never roars in the library, at least not anymore. But when something terrible happens, the lion quickly comes to the rescue in the only way he knows how.
One of my favourite picture book discoveries this past year is Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen. Beautifully illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, Library Lion is the perfect read aloud.
The story revolves around a lion who frequents a library. He helps the head librarian Miss Merriweather around the library and stays for story hour with the children. After his first visit when he roared very loudly at the end of story hour because he wanted to hear another, the lion was informed of the rules and allowed to stay as long as he didn’t break them (no running, no roaring or loud noises) – and he never does. Until there’s an accident and he needs to get help. The story lends itself wonderfully to being read aloud to a group of children, especially if you’re like me and like to be animated when reading out loud. From Miss Merriweather’s soft librarian voice to the lion’s hearty roar I love bringing this book to life (and kids always like helping out with the roaring, too).
Library Lion is an exquisitely told story about rules, rule breaking, friendship and even jealousy. Students and children will easily connect with the rules of the library and understand that the lion has to abide by those rules. But they also immediately understand why he breaks the no roaring rule and why it’s maybe not a bad thing. Michelle Knudsen and Kevin Hawkes have created a brilliant story – one that I will keep around for years to come and will happily introduce to every class.