I have been lucky enough to live in cities with wonderful libraries. Still, on my bucket list is to visit some of the truly iconic libraries across the country. At the top of my list, The New York Public Library with its rich culture and history. This week we have three picture books about the lions, faithful guardians of the NYPL, Patience and Fortitude
The Lions at Night by Jessica M. Boehman
In this wordless story, the Lions take an evening subway ride through New York to visit Coney Island. Their evening is filled with snacks, rollers coasters, and prizes. They finish up with a trip to the aquarium and dip in the ocean. Later they are welcomed home by the librarian with bedtime stories and cuddles. The artwork is beautiful and dynamic and perfect for young readers. The pops of color in the black in white pages draw the eye and the rich details of their adventure are all about the fun. At the end of the book is a history of the lions and challenge to go back through the book to find clues about that history left behind by the author. My favorite thing about this book is the realization that this trip is not an isolated occurrence.
This is a wonderful way to engage children to tell their own story and would be a terrific introduction to a trip to New York.
Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience & Fortitude by Josh Funk
Art by Stevie Lewis
Fortitude wakes early one morning to find that Patience has not returned from his nightly foray into the library. He frantically searches through the library meeting other iconic artwork who help him on his way until Fortitude finds Patience in the children’s library reading “Just one more paragraph!” of a story to share with his friend.
This is basically a tour of the NYPL for kids and it is beautifully done. The illustration captures the early morning quiet of the library and the text without boring descriptions gives a wonderful account of the various rooms throughout. With its handy guide at the end about the rooms and art that Fortitude visits, this book should be a must for young readers (and their adults) visiting for the first time.
The Night Library by David Zeltser
Art by Raul Colon
A young boy is given, to his obvious displeasure, a book for his birthday. That night he is visited by a lion who takes him on an adventure to the NYPL through the reading room, past the adult books, which “can be difficult to grasp” to the children’s library where the books play out their favorite stories. The books present an image of the boy’s grandfather, who has passed, made out of the memories of stories his grandfather shared with him.
The written word was man’s first achievement of immortality, but for me, the memories of sharing the written words with a loved one far outweigh what they say. It is a joy that can be passed down generation to generation and as the young boy in this story found out, can even transcend the sadness of grief.
This story floats on the artwork, a kind of dreamlike state of muted colors that only reinforces the idea that this book should be shared.