K-Gr 2—Lottie Paris is back after her debut in Lottie Paris Lives Here (S & S, 2011). She's still the same lively, imaginative child, this time decked out in large purple boots. Waking up one morning in her canopy bed decorated with stars and planets and spaceships, "she imagines herself floating among them." And, on a full spread, she smiles dreamily. Soon, Papa Pete is walking her to the library. As in the earlier book, adults are present, but just barely. Their legs, or hands, or shoulders are seen, but never their faces. The focus is clearly on Lottie and her soon-to-be-new-friend Carl. She is excited to be in the "best place," but she still knows (mostly) that you can't yell, let your dog inside, or draw in the books. Meanwhile, Carl is waking up, happy to be among the dinosaurs decorating his bed sheets and room. Soon, his big sister, Eva, is driving him to the library, his "best place," as well. Carl also knows (mostly) a few rules about the library: don't blow bubbles, keep your yogurt away from the books, and don't crawl under tables pretending that adults' feet are dinosaur snacks. It's inevitable that Lottie Paris and Carl will meet as they stroll down the aisles that hold their favorite subjects: astronomy and dinosaurs. Together they relax on the big furniture, lost in their books and thoughts. This is a sweet story about friendship, libraries, books, and dreams. Fischer's stylized, yet realistic illustrations are rendered in gouache using different applications. They capture the children's spirit in their charming and sometimes goofy expressions. A fine choice.—Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA
Librarians get out your order pads; this picture-book homage to libraries is a charmer. Lottie Paris' dad takes her to the library, where she looks for books on planets and stars. Carl's sister drives him to the library, where he finds dinosaur books. For both, the library is "the best place in the world." Lottie Paris knows the rules: no dogs, no yelling, no coloring on the pages. Carl knows not to blow bubbles in front of the librarian, not to eat yogurt or to read books under the table while pretending people's feet are dinosaur snacks. Naturally, Lottie Paris and Carl meet when they are looking for their favorite books and discover that not only is the library the best place to find books, it's also the best place to be friends. The mixed-media illustrations (gouache, linocuts, stamping and airbrush) inject exuberance into the simple storyline. Carl is redheaded and freckle-faced, and Lottie Paris is African-American with a brown Afro. The scenes extend off the pages, drawing attention to the details that embellish the text. Bound to be a favorite for storytimes, classroom sharing and pre-library visits. After all, libraries are the best place. (Picture book. 5-8)
Angela Johnson has won three Coretta Scott King Awards, one each for her novels The First Part Last, Heaven, and Toning the Sweep. The First Part Last was also the recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award. She is also the author of the novels Looking for Red and A Certain October. Her books for younger readers include the Coretta Scott King Honor Book When I Am Old with You, illustrated by David Soman; Wind Flyers and I Dream of Trains, both illustrated by Loren Long; and Lottie Paris Lives Here and its sequel Lottie Paris and the Best Place, both illustrated by Scott M. Fischer. Additional picture books include A Sweet Smell of Roses, Just Like Josh Gibson, The Day Ray Got Away, and All Different Now. In recognition of her outstanding talent, Angela was named a 2003 MacArthur Fellow. She lives in Kent, Ohio. Visit her at AJohnsonAuthor.com.
Scott M. Fischer is a painter by birth, a musician by training, and a storyteller by choice. Best known as the author/illustrator of JUMP!, he is also the illustrator of Twinkle, the New York Times bestselling Peter Pan in Scarlet, Lottie Paris Lives Here, and Lottie Paris and the Best Place. Scott lives with his wife, daughter, and a menagerie of animals in Belchertown, Massachusetts.