When the Library Lights Go Out by Megan McDonald

Published: 1st October 2005Goodreads badge
Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
Illustrator: Katherine Tillotson
Pages: 40
Format: Picture Book
★   ★  – 2 Stars

CLOSED may mean “closed” to you. But for three story-hour puppets, CLOSED means “open for adventure.”

At first there are only Rabbit and Lion. Hermit Crab is missing. Where can she be in the library darkness? 

Find out for yourself when – magically – only puppets are up and about.

From the cover it had the promise of a cute little adventure in the library after hours and while there is a semblance of adventure, it doesn’t quite hit the mark. First of all, it’s a long book. Not overly wordy on each page but it is a long story. This is perpetuated by the fact that it’s a while before anything happens.

I found I couldn’t engage with the story of Rabbit and Lion looking for their friend. It was either meant to be adventurous or have the emotional pull of finding a lost friend which I could see on the surface but nothing deeper. The ending obviously is meant to be heartfelt and maybe even magical in its own way but I didn’t care that much.

What the story lacks is made up for in the illustrations. They are well done and I got the feeling of the library and the toys’ place within it, and I liked the depiction of the toys, their scruffy style makes them look like the much loved scruffy toys they are meant to be. Tillotson has made a great visual representation of the story with lots of strong colours, dark shadows and wonderful techniques to capture the night environment.

It was sweet at the end but overall uneventful. I think this could have been a better story if it was a bit different but the current story failed to capture my attention.

You can purchase When the Library Lights Go Out via the following

Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

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