Delilah D. at the Library

Written by Jeanne Willis - Illustrated by Rosie Reeve

The library is full of extremely interesting books:
some have pictures,
some have words
and this one
has a squashed
baked bean
on
page 5.

Delilah Darling is a character in the grand storybook tradition of confident, imaginative little girls , from Eloise to Olivia the Pig, who do not let such trivial things as logic or reality get in the way of their grandiose dreams.

In the case of Delilah D. at the Library, our young narrator, after having given some background about herself (“My name is Queen Delilah. I come from a land far, far away. Only my mother likes to keep it secret.”), heads off with her little brother Smallboy and Gigi, her “Old Pear,” to one of her favourite places, the library.  Once there, she charms the other patrons (and the readers) with her fanciful tales of her dream library—one that involves stick buns, trapezes, and storytimes led by a princess—and simultaneously drives the “Library Anne” to distraction with her well-meaning escapades.

The illustrations are colourful but softly rendered, with an endearing quality reminiscent of the work of Lillian Hoban.  The pictures are beautiful, but the style also lets the text take centre stage, which is exactly what is necessary with a text as full of boisterous personality as this is.

Delilah D. may seem, at first glance, to be a “girl” book, but I think that parents might be surprised to see how well many little boys will respond to her bravado and creative antics as well.

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