Miss Merriweather is a stickler for rules in her library: No running. Be quiet. When a lion takes up residence in the library, no one can think of any rule he is breaking, so Miss Merriweather allows the lion to stay.
Soon, the lion finds ways of making himself helpful—dusting the encyclopedias with his impressive tail, licking the overdue notice envelopes and allowing small children to stand on his back to reach high shelves. The parents and children love the lion, but Mr. McBee, another librarian, does not see what all the fuss is about. "Lions . . . could not understand rules. They did not belong in the library." When an accident makes the lion break one of the rules, he knows he is not welcome back.
Author Michelle Knudsen and artist Kevin Hawkes teamed up to create Library Lion, a delightful picture book about rule breaking and friendship that is sure to please readers and librarians everywhere. The story is amusing and captivating, and the illustrations hearken back to Maurice Sendak's classic artwork for A Hole Is to Dig and the many charmers by Eric Blegvad. Soft acrylic and pencil drawings capture the stuffiness of Mr. McBee, the children's glee at having a lion friend and the great sadness of everyone and everything—even the potted plant—when the lion suddenly stops coming to the library. And when Mr. McBee finally finds the lion, soaking wet and looking longingly into the glass doors of the library, anyone can see the sorrow on the faces of both feline and human.
Graceful details add to the retro feel of this utterly delightful book. Curl up at your favorite library with this winner of a tale! Copyright 2006 BookPage Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Spring
When a lion appears in her library, strict head librarian Miss Merriweather has only one rule for him: "If you cannot be quiet, you will have to leave." The lion does break the rule but with good reason. The humorous acrylic and pencil illustrations, reminiscent of 1950s picture books, add charm to the well-paced story. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2006 August #1
Knudsen and Hawkes pick a perfect setting to express the idea that breaking rules can sometimes be a good thing. When a lion wanders into a small town public library the Head Librarian, Miss Merriweather, brushes off the protestations of her realistically officious colleague Mr. McBee and allows it to stay-so long as it keeps quiet, doesn't run and makes itself useful cleaning books and licking envelopes while waiting for storytime to begin. Anxious-looking patrons of all ages quickly become accepting ones in Hawkes's soft toned watercolors, and if Miss Merriweather's hair and dress seem a bit stereotypical, occasional CRT monitors balance glimpses of rubber date stamps and a card catalog in his gracious, old style interiors. When Miss Merriweather takes a fall, the lion roars to attract help, then slinks out in shame-but McBee redeems himself by bustling out into the rain to inform the offender that Exceptions to the Rules are sometimes allowed. Consider this a less prescriptive alternative to Eric A. Kimmel's I Took My Frog to the Library (1990), illustrated by Blanche Sims-and it doesn't hurt that the maned visitor is as huge and friendly looking as the one in James Daugherty's classic Andy and the Lion. (Picture book. 6-8) Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Media Connection - January 2007
This is the story of a lion that shows up at a library to listen to stories. The lion soon breaks the no-noise rule but gets quiet when he is invited to listen to stories again. He returns each day and is recruited to assist in the library by dusting shelves and helping children reach the books on high shelves. The rules become more flexible when the lion breaks them to become a hero. Beautiful pastel illustrations show a cozy, comfortable library with quiet, happy patrons. The real-life lion in the library will appeal to young readers, but I found this story anachronistic. It needs more action and evidence of relationships between characters to pique the interest of young readers. Additional Selection. Anne Hanson, Library Media Specialist, Hoover Elementary, North Mankato, Minnesota Â© 2007 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 September #1
The library's no place for a real live lion. But what if it was a book-loving beast that followed all the library rules, enforced by head librarian Miss Merriweather? Well, that's a different story the fun, fantastical tale in Knudsen's entertaining picture book. Library patrons and staff are perplexed and a bit frightened when a lion arrives in the local library, checking out the collection, napping in the children's corner and making himself at home for story hour. But Miss Merriweather doesn't see any reason to expel this mane attraction if he abides by her rules (e.g., "No running!"; "If you cannot be quiet, you will have to leave [the library]"). Soon the furry fellow befriends nearly everyone in the place, and even becomes Miss Merriweather's helpful assistant. One day, Miss Merriweather is in trouble. Lassie-like, the lion gets her some help, and then banishes himself from the place for breaking the rules (he unquietly roars in order to get the attention of one of the librarian's colleagues). Happily, this heroic literary lion doesn't stay away for long. Knudsen's gentle tale of a revered yet welcoming community destination will ring true for many readers. Hawkes's (Weslandia ) evocative, soft-hued acrylic-and-pencil illustrations have a timeless feel, depicting a cozy book-filled haven that any story fan would love to visit, rules and all. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)[Page 66]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
PreS-Gr 2 Miss Merriweather, head librarian and decorum-keeper, first meets Lion when he saunters past his stone counterparts and into the stacks. Scowling circulation assistant Mr. McBee seems intent on having the enormous cat ejected, but his boss declares that as long as he breaks no rules, he is welcome. The beast does misbehave though, roaring loud displeasure when storytime ends. At Miss Merriweather's reprimand, the contrite-looking lion promises to reform. In fact, he becomes something of a fixture in the building, dusting with his tail, licking envelopes, and serving as a stepstool for small patrons. Everyone appreciates himexcept Mr. McBee. When Lion lets out another tremendous RAAAHHHRRR!, the man bursts into Miss Merriweather's office to snitchand there he finds her in distress, having fallen from a stool and broken her arm. Lion, la Lassie, has saved the day, but he is so chagrined by his own rule-breaking behavior that he doesn't return to the library. People miss him. Even Mr. McBee. A feel-good ending and a reminder that Sometimes, there is a good reason to break the rules bring the story to its most-satisfactory conclusion. Hawkes's deft acrylic-and-pencil pictures have appeal for generations of library lovers. They are rich with expression, movement, and detail. The lordly, lovable lion is a masterful mixregal beast and furry friendand the many human characters are drawn with animation and emotion. This winsome pairing of text and illustration is a natural for storytime and a first purchase for every collection.Kathy Krasniewicz, Perrot Library, Old Greenwich, CT[Page 91]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.