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When the Library Lights Go Out


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About the Author

Megan McDonald, beloved author of the Judy Moody books, is also a gifted storyteller. She is the author of When the Library Lights Go Out, illustrated by Katherine Tillotson; The Hinky-Pink, illustrated by Brian Floca; and the now-classic Is This a House for Hermit Crab?, illustrated by S.D. Schindler. She lives in Sebastopol, California.

Katherine Tillotson is the illustrator of several children's books, including All the Water in the World, Shoedog, and It's Picture Day Today. Ms. Tillotson lives in San Francisco with her husband. Visit her at


PreS-Gr 3-Three puppets enjoy a nighttime adventure in a library after hours. Amiable and amusing full-page illustrations, done in oils on paper, capture a sense of being alone in a big space and convey the warmth of wood tables and shelves full of books, but the text provides only an impressionistic and sketchy plot. Hermit Crab is missing from the puppet box after the librarian leaves, and Rabbit, who has been steeped in fairy tales, decides that she has been taken by a giant. Lion, more stolid and practical, finds a map that seems to point to landmarks within the building, but it tears as the friends pull at it. Lion folds the pieces into a boat, a sail, a captain's hat. Endearing as these puppets are to look at, they are frustrating to read about. The story reads, even aloud, like one improvised with puppets in hand: long on action and dialogue but with too many moments that pull against the center. Some of the magical elements seem inconsistent as well: Lion and Rabbit can sail the paper boat across the floor in the moonlight (the clock), but then dine on the remains of a real baloney sandwich and toast marshmallows over a lit match (in the library!!!). Overall, an appealing concept that doesn't quite live up to its magical promise.-Kathie Meizner, Montgomery County Public Libraries, Chevy Chase, MD Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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