The New Libearian by Alison Donald & Alex Willmore is a quirky, fun story that is an absolute gem for anyone who loves reading and understands the magic of books and their capacity to whisk you away to enchanted realms and imaginary lands.
The story begins with a group of children impatiently awaiting the arrival of Miss Merryweather, the librarian, for story time.
When she doesn't show up, they start hunting for clues in the library and follow the trail until they discover a new librarian, or in this case, liBEARian !
After the children have listened to a scary story read by the bear, Miss Merryweather finally turns up, explaining that she had to clear up after a volcano erupted in the ancient history section ! As she starts to read Goldilocks and the Three Bears to the children, she realises that one of the bears is missing from the page. They call the cheeky stand-in librarian out of hiding and he climbs back into the book.
They can finally finish their story ... but now Goldilocks has gone missing !
It's a fun concept that banishes the boundary between fiction and real life, showing how reading can become escapism and allow you to imagine being in exotic places, past times or mystical make-believe lands. I did have to explain to Pierre that it's only in your imagination though, because he wondered out loud about the monsters and villains being able to step out of the stories in the middle of the night too. Didn't someone make a horror movie out of that idea ?!
For reluctant readers who think books are boring, this could be a great way of introducing the magic of storytime and the delights of reading. For those who are already convinced, it's a fun invitation to think up new ways of bringing stories out of books and into real-life, through follow-on crafting activities, pretend play and baking sessions.
Disclosure : We received the book in order to write an honest review.