I discovered this book when I was trying to prepare for a preschool visit for which I had been given quite a long list of learning objectives, not the least of which was that my story should be about the letter L! And lo! the book itself offered perfect jumping-off points for discussion about how to behave in the library, how to care for library books, and the importance of stories. Better yet, I discovered that our branch has Library Lion, by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, and it also has the Spanish edition, Un Leon en la biblioteca (translated by Teresa Mlawer).
I also used this book with a visiting kindergarten group, whose teacher had prepared them astonishingly well for their visit. Everyone in the class knew the names for every part of a book, including the dedication. In Library Lion, the story begins and ends on the endpapers, which are different in the front and the back of the book. And both the author and illustrator dedicate the book to a favorite librarian.
For my Page Presents puppet show, I transformed an earlier church backdrop into a library.
Page the Bookworm played the fussy Mr. McBee.
Our lion puppet was, of course, the Library Lion, and my Nancy Pearl Action Figure was the story lady.
I played the part of Miss Merriweather.
We had a record crowd of around 70 people for Page Presents, and the kids were overexcited by the presence of a large class of fourth graders who were also visiting at the time.
Against my better judgment I had yielded to the importuning teacher and had scheduled his class visit during the half hour before Page Presents. For the fourth graders I had given a book talk on The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and then led the group in a tour of the library.
The class was quite well behaved, but they were still present in the children’s room, browsing for books during my puppet show, and this turned out to be too much of a distraction for the preschoolers. It was complete pandemonium.
Note to self: don’t give in to importunate teachers with last-minute scheduling demands!
Some out-of-town friends were visiting, and I had to tell them, “It’s not usually like this!”
Afterwards, the kids managed to focus long enough to make their lion masks. I guess they got something from either the story or the possibilities inherent in the mask, because they immediately began play-acting!