Tag Archives: don freeman

Day 103 – Quiet! There’s a Canary in the Library

Keeping with our Library Week theme, today we read “Quiet! There’s a Canary in the Library” by Don Freeman, a book about a little girl whose imagination gets the better of her one Saturday on a weekly visit to the library. Published in 1969, the book tells a simple but endearing story, and it is filled with playful illustrations that add to the vintage storybook feel.canary

If you had the opportunity to run the library, would you make any changes? It seems to me like a pretty amazing place already, but little Cary knows one thing she would change if she were the librarian: she would set aside one day every week just for animals and birds to come in and browse. While sitting and reading a book about the zoo one afternoon, she begins to daydream about all the animals that would come visit on her special day. There would be a bear pawing through books about his kin, an elephant (who will need more than four chairs and his own table to be comfortable), a proud peacock, a quiet turtle reading under a table, an entire family of monkeys, and many more besides…including, of course, a canary. While this collection of animals may seem like a recipe for mayhem, in Cary’s library, they would all be quiet as mice…at least until…MICE!

This delightful book has been a favorite of our youngest ever since we purchased it; we have had our paperback copy for only a short time, and it is already looking worn-out & well-loved (because every time we leave the house she asks to bring it along in the car). I think there is something particularly compelling for little listeners about the idea of being able to invite all your animal friends to the library, and I loved how Cary imagines herself in the role of librarian. Don Freeman’s drawings are especially inviting. There is a certain kitschy charm to Mr. Freeman’s illustrations (the style of drawing and the color combinations) that is at once dated and comforting. Taken together, it’s an adorable combination that we are very happy to have as part of our collection.