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Library Lion Paperback – June 25, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 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 him–except Mr. McBee. When Lion lets out another tremendous RAAAHHHRRR!, the man bursts into Miss Merriweather's office to snitch–and there he finds her in distress, having fallen from a stool and broken her arm. Lion, à 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 mix–regal beast and furry friend–and 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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 2. This story's appealing premise is clear in the first sentence: "One day, a lion came to the library." There's the expected uproar as the lion pads through the stacks, but librarian Miss Merriweather only asks: "Is he breaking any rules?" The lion is not, and so he is allowed to stay. He makes himself useful and enjoys story hour until Miss Merriweather falls and breaks her arm. The lion roars for help, but his noise prompts a scolding from an uptight, oblivious staff member. The story falters a bit as it explores messages about rules and exceptions in a way that feels both purposeful and a bit convoluted. The warm friendships will easily draw interest, though, as will the handsome, nostalgic pencil-and-acrylic illustrations. Children will easily see themselves in the wild lion, which yearns to explore and enjoy the library but worries about the constraining rules. A fine partner for other library tales, such as Judy Sierra's Wild about Books (2004) and Lauren Child's But Excuse Me That Is My Book (2006). Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 470L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 1 Reprint edition (June 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076363784X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763637842
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michelle Knudsen is the New York Times best-selling author of more than 40 books for young readers, including board books, picture books, early readers, and middle grade and young adult novels. Her best-known book to date is the award-winning picture book Library Lion, which has been translated into fourteen languages, is currently being performed as a stage production in Israel, and was recently selected by Time Magazine as one of the Best 100 Children's Books of All Time. Michelle's most recent book is the young adult novel Evil Librarian -- a funny, creepy, paranormal, musical-theater-horror-romance adventure, which Kirkus described as "snappily narrated, tightly plotted, and generally just right." Her next release, coming out in March 2015, will be the picture book MARILYN'S MONSTER, illustrated by the award-winning Matt Phelan. Other forthcoming titles include THE MAGE OF TRELIAN (the third book in her middle grade fantasy trilogy) and a sequel to Evil Librarian. Michelle lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Sherri Allen on September 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"Library Lion," written by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, has a timeless quality and moral appeal that will assure it's place in the future lists of classic storybooks for children.

When a lion shows up for storytime, Miss Merriweather, the head librarian, makes it clear that the lion can only stay if he follows the rules. That includes being quiet; in other words, No Roaring. The lion loves storytime and visits the library every day. He follows all the rules and even comes early to help Miss Merriweather. One day, though, something bad happens and the only way the lion can help is by making a great big roar. The sad lion leaves the library because he knows he has broken the rules. Finally, the lion learns that "sometimes there is a good reason to break the rules" and makes a joyous return to storytime at the library.

Knudsen's character development is superb. In just a few short sentences, we "know" Miss Merriweather, her assistant Mr. McBee, and a lion who never says a word. Hawke's illustrations are just as exceptional. The pictures, in their soft, muted tones, provide rich scenery and abundant expression. You can easily see everyone's surprise to see a lion in the library, the lion's happiness to be helping in the library, and the lion's sadness when he thinks he cannot return to the library.

A visit to the library produces heartfelt lessons in following (and not following) rules in the endearing tale "Library Lion." I highly recommend "Library Lion."
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Terri Rowan on October 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Rules are very important, especially in libraries. Miss Merriweather knows all about library rules, and she likes to make sure everyone follows them. When a lion strolls into the building one day, she isn't sure what to do. No one else knows what to do either.

The lion turns out to be very helpful. He is quiet now that he knows not to roar inside, he is warm and soft for story hour, and he likes to help Miss Merriweather with things like licking envelopes and dusting shelves. The lion proves to be very good at following the rules--until Miss Merriweather takes a nasty tumble. What will happen to the lion when he breaks to rules to help her out?

In this charming storybook, children will learn that rules are to be followed, but sometimes it's okay to go against them if it's an emergency. The message is presented in a non-frightening manner that will warm children's hearts. Although Miss Merriweather is hurt, we know she will be okay, and her sense of duty remains in tact ("No running!").

We also learn that jealousy can cause problems. The library assistant, Mr. McBee, doesn't care for all the attention the lion has taken from him, and the consequences are laid out when he ignores the lion's pleas for help.

This is a wonderful book. It may well be a classic one day, and it should go into your library today.

Reviewed by Christina Wantz Fixemer

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. M. Chapple on August 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Michelle Knudsen's Library Lion is the new favorite of my three children (4, 6, 7). I have read this book out loud THREE times in the past week; they like it better every time! I'm starting to know it by heart. The illustrations are remarkable, and the story has a classic feel--warm and sweet. Makes me remember my own childhood when my father used to read to me.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By mcHaiku on April 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If an important part of your growing up has been reading, you realize there are many people to thank. Author Michelle Knudsen is saying 'thanks' with her (2006) story about Library Lion, and her story is welcomed by hundreds of children plus many adult readers.

An Ithaca (NY) connection (such as the author's) defines a special person according to reviewer mcHaiku. My first library experience was in Ithaca (1931) just a block south of home with only Court Street to cross, an important consideration at age five. Some of us never outgrow our love of children's books and are protective of the memories they conjure up. We remember with gratitude the stability and encouragement found at libraries like Ithaca's, and Petit Branch in Syracuse.

The Library Lion is destined to become an all-time favorite for it not only stirs the feel-good memories of childhood, it tweaks the funny bone of any who may recall a particular frown, or raised eyebrow when they were misbehaving in the stacks. There have been so many outstanding librarians in my family and life I thought that those negative remarks or film images were jokes.

This story is wonderful fun because it is written & illustrated with great affection. Miss Merriweather, the librarian, has her rules, and her assistant Mr. McBee loves to enforce them. The lion's helpfulness extends to licking envelopes containing overdue notices, and he does that with galumptious fervor. Kevin Hawkes draws a wide gamut of human-like emotions in the Lion for adults and children to laugh over and discuss. Does one illustration hint that Ms. M 'has a thing' about McBee? So be it; these times call for sweet distractions, and moral lessons a la "Black Beauty." The lucky children hearing about Michelle Knudsen's "Library Lion" at storytime are on their way to building strong lifetime relationships with libraries everywhere. CHEERS all around!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on September 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The kids love this one and I must say I do too. This is a simple story of a lion who when to the library. It is funny, well written and the illustrations are some of the best I have seen in sometime now. I have yet to have a child that did not like and enjoy this one. Even the non readers like it read to them and enjoy the pictures. The text matches the illustrations perfectly and their is an actual story to follow. Recommend this one highly.
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