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Library Lion

Last updated Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Author: Michelle Knudsen
Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes
Date of Publication: 2006
ISBN: 0763622621
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2007

Synopsis: From School Library Journal: 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 feline 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 story time 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 story time and a first purchase for every collection.

Note to readers:
•  It's a long book, but very cute.
•  Vocabulary words: circulation desk, card catalog, stacks, stern, overdue notices, and scowl.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever seen a lion in the library? A dog in the library? Are lions, dogs, or cats allowed in the library? Would you be afraid if a lion was in the library?
•  Can lions read? What about dogs or cats?
•  Do you have any pets? Do you read to your pets?
•  Do you go to the library? Who do you go with?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What are some of the rules in the library?
•  Do you have story time at your local library (not school library)?
•  Was it okay for the lion to roar in the library?
•  Was it okay for the lion to roar in the library when Ms. Merriweather fell?
•  Would you like a lion in your library?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a puppet lion out of a paper bag. Cut out the mane and ears from construction paper and attach with glue. Draw the eyes, nose and whiskers.
•  Make a lion mask out of a paper plate. Have the kids color the rim of the paper plate for the mane. They can draw the eyes, nose, whiskers and mouth. Volunteers cut out the eyes. Attach string/yarn or glue a popsicle stick for a hand held mask.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!