Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Wild About Books

Wild About Books

Judy Sierra
Illustrator:   Marc Brown 
Picture Book
For ages 3 to 6
Random House, 2004   ISBN: 978-0375825385

Molly McGrew, a librarian with many gifts, has driven her bookmobile to the zoo. She begins to read out loud to her non-human audience and in no time she has attracted a remarkable collection of listeners. From skinks to elephants, from a wombat to a lynx, animals arrive to listen to the stories and to wonder at this wonderful “new something called reading.”

Soon listening to stories is not enough for this extraordinary assortment of creatures. No indeed, they all want to read books for themselves. They want to dip into fiction and non-fiction, novels and picture books, big books and small ones. Molly finds a way to find books to meet all the varied tastes of every creature who wants to read. She even finds a waterproof copy of “Harry Potter” for the otters.

Not only does Molly meet all the reading needs of her customers, but she also teaches them how to care for and respect books so that they don’t end up too battered to be read by others.

It is not surprising surely to learn that the animals love books so much that many of them begin writing their own stories and some of them are very successful in their new endeavours.

This deliciously funny picture book abounds with enthusiasm. The bouncing rhyming text leaps like a monkey from page to page, and by the time one gets to the last page one cannot help feeling that one should join the animals and write a book too.

There is no doubt that this book will inspire children; it will show them how magical and enjoyable reading can be if you approach it in the right frame of mind; reading is a pleasure, a gift, and not a chore.

Marc Brown has created beautiful, colourful, folk style full page art which perfectly captures the joy and wonder that the animals experience when they discover books for the first time.