Prather’s Pick: ‘The Library Book’ a celebration of literature
April 3, 2018
"The Library Book," this week's picture book for children, is a celebration of books and the libraries that house them. The book uses the lyrics to "Library Song" in the story. The song and story were written by Tom Chapin and Michael Mark. The book's illustrations were created by Chuck Groenink.
"Library Song" is from "Moonboot," Tom Chapin's album, and the sheet music for "Library Song" is included in the book's endpapers.
Chapin and Mark are well-known in the musical world. According to the brief biography in the book, Chapin has 25 CDs, eight Grammy nominations and three Grammy Awards, and he has performed thousands of times for audiences of all ages. He is a pioneer in children's music.
Mark has written, toured and performed with Chapin, sharing in Grammy nominations for Chapin's albums of family music. As an actor, Mark has received a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Broadway musical.
As "The Library Book" begins, a young girl is trying to figure out what to do with her Saturday. It is pouring down rain, and her dad is asleep. The TV is boring, and she can't go out to play. What to do? She puts on her raincoat and boots, then heads to the library and check out a book or two.
The library is on a street with shops; in fact, it is right up against a store that sells cheeses. (The illustrations are wonderful.) The girl goes inside, takes off her coat and sits in her favorite chair.
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"I'm going down to the library, picking out a book, check it in, check it out. Gonna say 'hi' to the dictionary, picking out a book, check it in, check it out."
(The above lines are repeated over and over in the story. They're catchy, and after reading the story, I find myself repeating them in my head. What fun it would be to use them with children in school or at the library.)
Anyway, the girl sits in the chair and tries to decide which book(s) to take home, and the books' characters try to persuade her to take them. There's Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty, Madeline, the Cat in the Hat and Pinocchio. The girl chooses four books. When she goes to the check-out desk, Mrs. Parker is there, and the Cheshire Cat jumps up on Mrs. Parker's head.
Mrs. Parker reminds them to be quiet, but then, other characters come out of the books to beg the little girl to check them out. The Seven Dwarves, Babar, Cinderella, Curious George and Mother Goose are there, to name a few, and pretty soon, the library is filled with story characters and other people.
This book is a celebration of reading, indeed. "The Library Book" received the 2018 CLEL Bell Picture Book Award for Early Literacy and is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. It costs $19.99 in hardcover and is a new book at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries.
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