I cannot remember where I discovered this perfectly sweet picture book. I am sure that someone in my book group suggested it, and I regret that I cannot give them credit for the excellent recommendation. Alas, the best I can do is share this with as many others as I can so that the recommendation bears even more good fruit.
The Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen is a sweet tale of a gentle lion who wanders into a children’s library for story time and ends up becoming a fixture of the community. Behaving like a real but very tame lion, “Lion” helps with dusting, he licks the envelops of overdue notices, he allows the children to use him as a comfortable backrest during story time, and he allows children to climb on his back so they can reach books which are on the upper shelves. Lion quickly becomes beloved by nearly all in the library community.
Because our story needs a problem to solve, the assistant librarian isn’t particularly happy with the new library helper. When a little problem arises, the assistant librarian allows his jealousy to get the best of him and he shames Lion into leaving. As it turns out, Lion had been doing something helpful and the assistant librarian regrets his jealousy and his loss of temper. Ultimately, because this is a sweet picture book, all is mended.
This delightful book has some high quality features. The soft watercolor illustration by Kevin Hawkes is sweet and inviting. The book is published with text which is large enough to read sideways if you are reading aloud to a group of little ones. The cover and pages are silky smooth and a pleasure to hold.
Picture books have a relatively short shelf life in some of our homes. I have a smallish family, just three little ones. While I love picture books for all ages and stages, investing in them can get a bit tricky. How many times will I read this one to justify the expense? I was pleased to see that my local library had several copies. We checked this one out of the library more than once before I decided that it was just too sweet and too much fun to not own a copy. Even though I have a family copy, my little girl is saving her pennies to buy her own copy because she loves it that much.
If you would like to preview this book, or would just enjoy listening to someone else read it, the Screen Actors Guild Foundation included it in their “StoryLine Online” series. Mindy Sterling reads it here.