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Friday, August 8, 2014

Quiet in the Library


Don Freeman's books are among my longtime favorites. I always longed to spend a night in a department store like Corduroy (though I never saw one with escalators until I visited Dayton's as a college freshman). It would have been terrific if our St. Bernard could rescue someone - with hot chocolate! - as Hugo did in Ski Pup. Dandelion provides the perfect example of why it is important to just be yourself.

As a librarian and frequent library patron, I like how the young girl Cary in Quite! There's a Canary in the Library imagines what it would be like to host "Animal and Bird Day" and welcome non-human patrons to browse the collection. Though librarians rarely sit behind their desks and wait, Cary understands all the other important duties that keep visitors coming back for more books. She welcomes Lion and Elephant and makes accommodating spaces for them to read. She greets each creature with enthusiasm and appreciation. She helps locate just the right books for each patron, like tall tales for Giraffe. She realizes the importance of respecting each other's needs and tries to keep the porcupine away from Lion and the monkeys contained. Most of all, she values reading and is pleased when all the patrons are engrossed in their chosen books. It is only when mice enter that chaos ensues, forcing Cary to maintain order with Canary's song.

Cary's imaginative scenario is charming, especially when she accidentally utters "Quiet!" aloud at her table. Don Freeman's text feels like a song itself at times with rhymes interspersed in unexpected places and puns scattered amongst the dialogue. His artwork, of course, plays along perfectly. Cary's delight when Canary sits atop her head, telling the patrons it is time to leave, shines in color in front of a gray background. 

A colleague told me yesterday how much she loves it when I share old books like this one (1969), and it is on my list for storytime in the fall. 

1 comment:

  1. Books, whether old or new publications, are always important to share. I want this animal!!

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