Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Book #318: Wild About Books by Judy Sierra, Illustrated by Marc Brown

Image from JudySierra.net
When the Springfield librarian, Molly McGrew, first drives her bookmobile into the zoo the animals aren’t sure what to do. They keep their distance, but Molly draws them in by reading from Dr. Seuss and soon the animals stampede the bookmobile each time it arrives. Molly finds the right books for each animals taste, tall books on skyscrapers for the giraffes and waterproof copies of Harry Potter for the otters. And although she has to teach the termites not to eat the books and the bears not to lick the pictures off the pages, soon the animals are so in love with books they begin writing their own. There’s such a high demand for books that the animals build their own Zoobrary! So if you go to the zoo and the animals seem hard to find, that’s probably because they’re curled up in a nook, “going wild, simply wild, about wonderful books.”

The rhyming text of this celebration of books and libraries is rollicking and humorous. Many different kinds of books are mentioned, from picture books to plays, novels to how-to books. The painterly illustrations are colorful and vibrant. The anthropomorphic animals are mischievous, but friendly and amazingly never eat one another. Molly is a wonderfully outgoing and helpful librarian and I love that she dresses in hot pink pants and a striped blazer! The text and the illustrations contain many humorous details, such as the bunnies reading Good Night Moon and the hippo who wins the Zoolitzer Prize. The book is dedicated to Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) and his influence is apparent throughout.

Use this book as part of a storytime celebrating National Bookmobile Day (this year it was on April 11). Read other stories that include bookmobiles, such as Librarian Lil or Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile. If possible have kids tour a bookmobile and talk about the locations it travels to during the year. If you don’t have access to a bookmobile, check out the ALA Bookmobile Pinterest board. Bring in photographs of many different styles of bookmobiles for kids to compare and contrast.

This book also fits nicely into a zoo themed storytime. Try pairing it with stories that feature playful zoo animals such as, Psst!, Zoozical (also by Sierra and Brown) and Where’s Walrus. Random House has some printable activity sheets that work well with a zoo theme. 

Sierra and Brown have included many of their favorite books in this story, so encourage kids to draw their favorite animal reading their favorite book. It would be fun to display these as book recommendations around a children's area in a library.
Read more about the inspiration and creation of this book on Sierra’s website. She also includes some fun facts about details in the book.


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