105 Ways to Give a Book

What’s In a Name?

Yesterday was a Bad Day. I didn’t feel like writing until I was able to find the circumstances of that Bad Day amusing. That time has not yet come (at least not for all aspects of the Bad Day), but some parts are turning about for me.

On Wednesday, I received a lackluster job performance review. I love the word lackluster. Along with paradigm, trifecta, and juxtaposition, it is one of my favorite words to use — but I digress (I like digress too). It is hard to receive a lackluster review when you think of yourself as a children’s librarian extraordinaire. But there are things that matter to the library system, things like “punctuality” and “in-depth knowledge of library resources” that do not come naturally to me. The first because I have trouble always being exactly on time — though I do make up for it by always being available to cover for other people. The second is a problem because I haven’t been doing this job for ten years to acquire expert reference skills. I do have expert reader’s advisory skills, given that I read a couple hundred children’s literature books and like a thousand picture books a year. Shame that doesn’t seem so much to be included in the review.

Anyhow, this lackluster review contributed to my malaise yesterday (oh, I like malaise too) and made it hard to pull together books for my L program today. Every week we have a program on Friday focusing on a letter of the alphabet — the idea being that it is broad enough to be something experienced children’s librarians could do without a lot of fuss. Being experienced and well-read, I should have been able to pull my favorite L books together easily — except that I was in a funk and nothing appealed to me. Where was the challenge? Where was the fun?

Louie's GooseUntil I found Louie’s Goose, by H.M. Ehrlich. This is a cute, bright, picture book about a boy who loves a stuffed goose and takes it everywhere, even to the beach. But Louie forgets about Rosie (the goose) and she gets swept out to the ocean and then promptly — before the reader can even get scared — gets dropped on the shore. Mommy can’t fix the wet and soggy Rosie, but Louie can. He hugs her and lets her rest on the blanket, and the sun dries her out. All better.

So what is so special about this book to change my mood, to make me feel like going on in the library profession? It is all in the name. In finding this book, I realized that there were several books with Louie in the title, and that is all I am reading today. Your regular (some would say normal) children’s librarian would use today’s L theme to read about lions, or lambs, or ladybugs. All lovely topics. But this lady with the lackluster review is going to do a program all about Louie.

On today’s program you’ll find Louie’s Search, by Ezra Jack Keats, Little Louie the Baby Bloomer, by Robert Kraus, and Looking for Uncle Louie on the Fourth of July, by Kathy Whitehead (given the current immigration brouhaha, a very appropriate choice about Latino families in Texas celebrating the birth of America). For songs today we will use “Skip to my Lou” and “Louie” sung to the tune of “Bingo.” (Did you think I was going with “Louie, Louie”? I tried to make it work, really I did.)

Oh, keep your punctuality, your superior reference interview skills, your creative use of library resources... Hold it. Stop right there. If my “All Louie, All the Time” program doesn’t qualify for creative use of library resources, then I don’t know what does.


Jen Robinson said...

I think it's sad that your reader's advisory skills aren't as recognized as they should be by the library bureaucracy. But have I mentioned how much I love your writing style when you post? The whole bit about words that you love is great stuff. I have no immediate need of a collection of Louie-related books, but I love to idea!

Kelly said...

I agree with Jen. Who are these people who give you a lackluster review? Your lustre is crystal clear on your blog (and earned the most high rating at The Edge of the Forest's "Best of the Blogs"!)

Daniel said...

Rock on, MotherReader: you're starting kids early upon a path that I'll pick up when they're in high school: that of theme. It's a concept that's harder to drill home than one might imagine!