Author: Susan Margaret Chapman
Illustrator: Abby Carter
Publisher: Janesville, WI: Upstart Books, 2010.
Genre: Picture book, fiction
Audience Age: 5 years and up
Themes/Topics: Libraries, learning
Opening Sentences: Not long ago there was a busy school librarian. Her name was Ms. Reade, and she ran a lively, booming media center.
Synopsis: The school library is a vital, active, noisy place for learning and interacting with the resources and people in it. The pages immediately following those opening sentences give a delightful feel for the chaotic joy that is a part of this library experience.
Words and pictures dance all over the page. I just love the onomatopoeia in “Every day the book returns thumped, kerplop kerplop, the computer keys tapped, clickety click, the printers screeched, zippedy zing,” on and on, finishing with what becomes a chorus that kids will chime in to repeat, “and Adam asked a million questions.”
That is, this wonderful hubbub exists until the mayor visits one day. He believes libraries should be quiet and peaceful. He declares (loudly!) that there is too much noise in the library, and sets about taking away each thing that is creating the chaos, one by one.
In the reverse of a cumulative tale, the onomatopoeic recitation of noises gets shorter and shorter until there is nothing happening, not even any children coming into the library for books. (Not even Adam, to ask a million questions.) The mayor realizes to his dismay that the heart and life have gone out of the library. What do you suppose he does?
Activities/Resources: After reading this book, kids could suggest other onomatopoeic words that sound like what they describe – swish, splash, and so on.
The publisher, Upstart Books, has a publication Library Sparks that features “engaging activities to reach every reader.”
The website I Love to Teach has free activities and resources on onomatopoeia.
A trip to the library, either the school library or the public library, to discover what they offer besides books, would be a great activity to go with the reading of this book.
Availability: Readily available in hardcover online or through your local independent bookstore.
Every Friday, bloggers join together to share picture book reviews and resources, thanks to author Susanna Leonard Hill’s brainchild, “Perfect Picture Book Fridays.” Susanna then adds the books (and links to the reviews) to a comprehensive listing by subject on her blog. Find the entire listing at her “Perfect Picture Books.”