Like most book nerds, I have a special fondness for stories that take place in libraries. Maybe it’s because libraries house my favourite things, or maybe its because libraries are where I have some of my fondest memories of being with my mother, or maybe it’s just that libraries are where I feel safest outside of my own home. Either way, I’ve passed my love of libraries onto my daughter, and we find ourselves at our local library at least once a week, so when a picture book came across my desk that featured a little girl in a library, I knew I had to review it for you guys.

These interactive pages with sound effects are a favourite

If You Ever Want to Bring a Circus to the Library, Don’t! by Elise Parsley is a lovely little read. You can tell by the title alone that it’s going to be funny, the kind of funny that works for both the parents and the kids, which is a difficult but highly successful balance to be struck in children’s literature. Another perfect example of this kind of humour is on display in the hugely popular Crayon series by Drew Daywalt; if you’re a kids author and you want to sell a bunch of books, make the text fun to read for both the adults and the kids, you’ll sell a million copies.

Anyway, this particular book is about a little girl named Magnolia who decides to put on a circus in the library, the only problem is you need to be quiet, which is very difficult when putting on a circus and it’s associated activities. She’s a fun little girl who wants desperately to put on a show, but it quickly becomes obvious that simply using your imagination while reading books tends to work better in these environments. I will point out that the message in this book is a bit out of date, as libraries these days tend to hold less books and more ‘meeting spaces’, but I still think the message of ‘certain activities for certain spaces’ is a valid one.

My favourite parts of this book are  the illustrations; the expressions on the very patient librarian’s face are hilarious, as are Magnolia’s, especially when she’s getting shot out of her cannon. Sounds like fun doesn’t it?


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