It’s every bookish kid’s dream job—deputy librarian! I know I loved anything that could connect me more to my church library and public library growing up; helping reshelve books, joining clubs, chatting about favorite reads with the staff. Story Warren regular Carolyn Leiloglou has penned a new picture book that looks at this joy of librarianship, but also the slight tendency many of us have to want to control everything. In Library’s Most Wanted, grade-schooler Libby is thrilled to be able to assist her Aunt Nora in the library, and takes her job very seriously. But Libby is much-less-than thrilled when she realizes the state that some of the library books have been returned in. One is covered with sticky jam! Pages have been doodled on! Someone’s dog has chewed on the spine of another book. The “Wild West” book display has been utterly decimated. Libby embarks on a mission to correct these rogue behaviors, and soon the “outlaws” have been driven from the library. But like many of us, Libby discovers that her quest for perfection may have gone a bit too far. In reaching for what was good—books in nice condition—she has limited the opportunities for what is great—kids discovering the love of reading.
Thanks to a boy named Sammy and his affinity for cowboy stories, Libby comes to realize the true purpose of her job as “deputy librarian” in the end, but I love how gently this book teaches the importance of grace and responsibility in this environment. Libby’s error is clear, but so is her joy when she helps a child fall in love with a book. The Old West premise is such a fun one—Libby’s star-shaped sheriff badge and cowboy boots are a delightful touch of personality. I especially loved one spread (shout-out to illustrator Sarah Pogue) that shows a tumbleweed blowing through a deserted library. It’s also a great way to get in some possible new vocabulary concepts for kids; phrases like “Libby was a quick draw” and “quieter than a ghost town” work within the context of the book, but also introduce some traditional cowboy story imagery that I really liked. Books about books always make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, and this one is no exception. When it’s time for the next picture book story at your house, rustle up your rowdy crew and settle in for this good tale.
NOTE: Library’s Most Wanted is available now on Amazon and wherever great books are sold!