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The Library Dragon    by Carmen Agra Deedy & Michael P. White order for
Library Dragon
by Carmen Agra Deedy
Order:  USA  Can
Peachtree, 2004 (1994)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This unusual picture book opens on a job ad for a Children's Librarian: 'Sunrise Elementary School seeks a thick-skinned professional to help reduce inventory damage and loss'. Who do they hire? Miss Lotta Scales, and she's a real dragon!

Michael P. White's illustrations showcase delightful details like a 'pencil and claw sharpener', and Carmen Agra Deedy's text brings alive a dragon librarian who gets hot under the collar at the very idea of 'sticky little fingers / touching and clutching, /pawing and clawing, / smearing and tearing / her precious books'. She incinerates volumes she doesn't like, especially those that show species bias. Teachers have stopped sending kids to the library because they come back 'singed', but now their grades are 'going up in smoke'. What's to be done?

The principal fails to improve the situation - though he may do the hiring, can you guess 'who does the firing?' The teachers (even Miss Lemon) fail, because dragons tend to get the last word. Then, as Miss Lotta Scales begins to feel a little lonely, Molly Brickmeyer wanders into the Library, looking for her glasses. When she stumbles into a bookshelf, she holds a book close and reads aloud. It's 'storytime in the Library' again, and everyone's listening ... even the Library Dragon. And when Miss Lotta Scales takes the book away from Molly, something rather magical happens.

The Library Dragon was recommended to me by a school principal as a favorite at his daughter's elementary school. It pokes fiery fun at school librarians, while maintaining that 'every librarian needs to be a little bit of a dragon - or else, WHO WOULD GUARD THE BOOKS?'

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