Monday, October 8, 2012

Book #282: Library Lil by Suzanne Williams, Illustrated by Steven Kellogg

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Even before she became known as Library Lil, Lil loved books. By the age of eight she had read everything in the children’s room at the library and so she moved onto entire sets of encyclopedias. Good thing Lil was not just a fast reader, she had powerful strong arms too. When Lil grew up she became a librarian and got a job at the Chesterville Library. Unfortunately, the people were not as excited Lil when it comes to books. In fact, the people of Chesterville were too busy watching TV to pay any mind to books! But when a storm took out the power for two weeks, the townspeople were converted from viewers to readers when Lil revived the antique bookmobile. Lil also converts a rough and tough gang of bikers, lead by the notorious Bust-‘em-up Bill, into enthusiastic readers. Chesterville was never the same again!

Spunky Lil’s amazing strength and speed-reading skills make this book read like a tall tale. The text is full of colloquialisms and slightly exaggerated claims that make the story fun to read out loud. The story has three “acts:” Lil’s childhood, her struggle to convert the Chestervillians into readers, and her battle with Bust-‘em-up Bill. Although the story is a bit lengthy, the pacing is brisk and upbeat. Kellogg uses his signature style to create dynamic, sunlit illustrations full of his usual flat-faced, stout characters. As you read the book look closely at the titles and illustrations of the library books featured in book. Kellogg has incorporated the characters and titles of many of his other works. I found Pinkerton, The Island of Skog, The Mysterious Tadpole, and The Christmas Witch, just to name a few.

Read this book with other tall tales, as Williams suggests on her website. Some of my favorites include Thunder Rose and Dust Devil. Williams also provides a great list of recommended tall tales on her website. Divide kids into groups and have them write the further adventures of Library Lil.

This book is also a great addition to a book, library or No TV Week themed storytime. Try pairing it with other books that celebrate books, such as Book Fiesta! Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day Celebramos El día de los niños/El día de los libros, The Incredible Book Eating Boy, or A Book.


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