Prather’s Pick: The library dragon returns
April 12, 2016
Even though this picture book is intended for children, there's a message for all ages — perhaps more than one message. "Return of the Library Dragon" was written by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Michael P. White. It is based on "The Library Dragon," also written by Deedy.
The front and back inside cover pages are decorated, in different types of font, with quotes about books. The over forty quotes are by famous people, including Mark Twain, Lyndon Baines Johnson, William Shakespeare, Thomas Jefferson, Ray Bradbury, Frederick Douglass and others.
The reader finds a clipping from "School Library Times" on a page before the story begins. "Librarian Retires" is the headline. It seems that Miss Lotty, librarian at Sunrise Elementary School Library, is about to retire. Her favorite memory is of Molly Brickmeyer, a young girl who showed Miss Lotty how wrong it is to keep children from books. That's when Miss Lotty shed her dragon ways and got in touch with her library goddess. (This is a reference to "The Library Dragon" book.)
There's even a photo of Miss Lotty with the red-haired, pigtailed Molly. This clipping is foreshadowing of what's to come.
As the story begins, Miss Lotty and a young student named Milo discuss her retirement. Miss Lotty wears a yellow dress that's decorated with blue butterflies. Her hair is piled high on her head, resembling a beehive, and her glasses are… interesting. Also interesting is the green dragon tail.
Milo wonders if the new librarian will let the students use computers. Boy, that gets a response from Miss Lotty. "Over my dead dragon body," she says.
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That night Miss Lotty tries to relax in bed. She reads "The Once and Future Dragon. In her bedroom the reader finds a rug with a flame-like décor. A dragon tail rests up against a wall, and a pair of dragon shoes (like feet) set next to the big bed. Books are piled everywhere.
(One of the fun things about this book is the play on words when it comes to book titles. The reader finds "A Pickle in Time," "The Embarrassing Bears," "Where the Wild Pigs Are," "The Rat in the Hat," and a whole lot more!)
As Miss Lotty sleeps, a truck is headed to the library, and it means trouble. The next day, Miss Lotty's last day before retirement, she finds Milo in front of the closed library doors. He says that all of the books are gone. They have been taken to the central office. And that's not all — a new guy is there.
The new guy is Mike Krochip. He says the library is the new Sunrise Cybrary. Boxes with "Care Tech" printed across a drawing of an apple – 205 of them—are piled around the room. Some computers have been set up.
Miss Lotty's tail twitches and smoke escapes her lips. Her hands have turned into green claws.
Mike Krochip holds a Book-Be-Gone 5000 in front of Miss Lotty. He says, "It will kindle your fire."
By now other kids are in the room. They want their books back, and they don't care if Mike Krochip says they could have 10,000 books in one electronic gadget. The kids give reasons for wanting the books back. However, when one student turns on a McPod and says it's "awesome," Mike Krochip says within a month kids won't remember what books look like.
Boy, oh, boy, the room is staring to get hot. The Library Dragon is going to melt Mike Krochip's motherboard! She eats a white board, eight printers, and 65 tablets!
But just outside stands a young red-haired woman who will make some sense of it all.
"Return of the Library Dragon" is published by Peachtree Publishers, 2012. It costs $16.95 in hardcover or you can find it at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries.