Tag Archives: roar

Day 106 – Swatch

In a place where colors ran wild, there lived a girl who was wilder still…and “Swatch” by Julia Denos is her story. Swatch is a color tamer – and she LOVES color – from in-between gray to rumble-tumble pink. However, even Swatch must be reminded sometimes that no matter how docile they may seem, colors are wild animals at heart and they must be allowed to fly free if you truly want to create a masterpiece. 

“Swatch” is a joyful and wonderfully creative celebration of color. It is also an inspiring story and a fabulous showcase for Ms. Denos’ artwork.Swatch We first fell in love with her work in Margaret Cardillo’s “Just Being Audrey”, where the drawings conveyed a charm, grace and style that fit the subject perfectly. In “Swatch”, the exuberance, energy, and expressiveness of her illustrations are equally fitting. Swatch dances through the pages of the book with abandon, accompanied by brash strokes of color splashed across every page. The way the brush strokes flow, moving your eye across the pages and through the story with Swatch, is truly masterful! We have been looking forward to reading this book together ever since we saw a picture of the cover on Ms. Denos’ Web site several weeks back. We were not disappointed – the book is just as much fun on the inside as the cover implies it will be. I am delighted to have this one as part of our collection – the artwork alone makes this a book we will want to pick up and page through again and again. It’s eye candy with a charming story thrown in for good measure – a fantastic book that is a perfect fit for World Art Day.

P.S. you can read more about Ms. Denos and her work at her Web site www.juliadenos.com, and you can download a Swatch coloring sheet by clicking here.

Day 102 – The Library Lion

In honor of National Library Week, this evening we read a book that made us all want to ROAR: The Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen and Kevin Hawkes. It is an uplifting and charming story about an unlikely friendship and the importance of playing by the rules, which reminds us that sometimes there may still be a very good reason for breaking them.library lion

Rules are important to Ms. Merriwether, the librarian. She has some simple but important rules for anyone wishing to enjoy the library – be quiet and don’t run. There are no rules barring lions, however, and that is why Ms. Merriweather is unperturbed when a lion wanders into the library one day, despite the protestations of a vexed Mr. McBee.  The lion nearly loses his library privileges when he ROARs in protest at the end of storytime, but Ms. Merriweather gives him a second chance, and she is not disappointed. Once he has learned to control his temper, the lion – who originally seemed so out of place – is strangely at home quietly strolling the aisles on his padded paws and serving as a comfy backrest at storytime. He is also a tremendous help to Ms. Merriweather.

Then one afternoon Ms. Merriweather falls from a stool while reaching for a high shelf and breaks her arm. She asks the lion to fetch Mr. McBee, but the assistant librarian, who never wanted the friendly feline in the library in the first place, chooses to ignore the lion’s silent entreaties. Desperate to get help for his fallen friend, the lion uses the only other tactic he can think of – he ROARS! right in Mr. McBee’s face. The ploy works to perfection – Mr. McBee races down the hall to Ms. Merriweather’s office to report on this blatant disregard for rules and finds her lying on the floor waiting for help. Meanwhile, the lion trudges slowly out the door of the building. He has broken the rules, and he knows what that means.

For days and days thereafter, library visitors look up from their books expecting to see the lion arrive at any moment, but he is nowhere to be found. Ms. Merriweather in particular is saddened by the lion’s absence, speaking to Mr. McBee in a voice that is quiet “even for the library.” Seeking to cheer up his friend, and perhaps a bit regretful himself, Mr. McBee ventures out alone on a rainy evening and finds the lion, soaking wet, staring in the glass doors of the library. “There’s a new rule in the library,” Mr. McBee tells the lion, “No roaring allowed, unless you have a very good reason – say, if you’re trying to help a friend who’s been hurt, for example.” The next day, the lion returns to a joyful welcome. “No running!” calls Mr. McBee as Ms. Merriweather rushes down the hall to greet her long-lost friend – but she doesn’t listen, because “sometimes there (is) a good reason to break the rules, even in the library.”

“Library Lion” is a heartwarming and engaging book, and it has been a favorite of our youngest ever since we checked it out. It made us literally ROAR out loud when reading the text – and then made our hearts ROAR to see the picture of Ms. Merriweather and the lion embracing on the final page.It is also beautifully and playfully illustrated. I particularly enjoyed the variety of expressions so well captured on the faces of the people (and the lion!) in Mr. Hawkes’ drawings – expressions of curiosity, contrition, concern, melancholy and joy which added valuable color to the story.  I appreciated the way in which “Library Lion” so effectively conveys the allure of the library – we don’t know where the lion came from, but why wouldn’t he walk into a place as great as the library? We certainly love to spend time there!