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.