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Apparently it’s time for a children’s book review.   Let’s take a break from the crazy!

My child was splashing while I perched near the tub.  We were having a chat.  Our 16-year-old cat drifted into the bathroom, shouting about something or another.   Maggie has a regrettable voice; she sounds like a chain-smoker and she’s loud.  Now and then she took a break from the yelling and pressed her cheek lovingly to mine.

Then she leapt to the edge of the tub.  Maggie hates water.  She dropped her tail over the side and held it just one breath above the surface of the water.  Hold hold hold–then quick!  A dip and a flick.  Take that.  My daughter started, then covered her face with her hands.  She peeked through her fingers.  Bathwater spritzed by.   Maggie was serene, avoiding all eye contact.

Hold hold hold, dip, FLICK!–the game went on.  Periodically, I caught Maggie’s sodden tail and wrung it out.

Was she teasing, or was her intent more sinister?  It’s challenging to read your own pets, don’t let  other communicators tell you different.   I have no idea what she was up to.

With one last flick and a ragged “WOW!” Maggie jumped down and swaggered off.  We watched her go.

My daughter looked up at me.   “Mama,” she said, “can you read me a story?”

As a matter of fact, I could.  I selected Library Lion, by Michelle Knudsen.   Gentle and nostalgic, it takes me straight back to my childhood in the 1960’s.  The story touches on universal childhood themes:  sometimes you have to break the rules to be heard; if your heart is good you’ll fit in, even if you’re different; what if wild things cared about us and our well-being as much as we care about them?

Kevin Hawkes’ illustrations are charming without being precious.  The writing is spare and elegant.  I love everything about this story.

Library Lion acknowledges that animals have the capacity for friendship and empathy.   That it makes its point through a lion is pure fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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