Readers get a peek at what it would be like to visit a library that lends animals to patrons.
Sunny Miss Perkins is the librarian who works at the checkout desk, and Mr. Woozel is the zookeeper (both are white). On this particular day, there’s a crisis at the Lending Zoo: the tiger, Pancake, won’t eat his breakfast. When Miss Perkins, followed by Molly, a curious new black patron who was next in line, investigates, Pancake is missing. Eagle-eyed Molly spies the big cat’s tracks, and she and Miss Perkins are off to follow them on Miss Perkins’ motor scooter. The child’s parents are never seen, and Miss Perkins seems to think nothing of toting the young girl all over town on the back of her scooter (they do sport helmets), even jumping the gap between the roofs of two three-story buildings. Observant readers will be able to spy the runaway tiger, though the librarian and her charge do not catch up to him until he returns on his own to the Lending Zoo. And it turns out that Molly had been wanting to check out a tiger, so he’ll have more adventures. Asch’s digital illustrations are an odd mix—the animals are fairly finely detailed, but the rest of the pictures have the crisp, matte look of his pre-digital work. The humans’ facial expressions are strangely static, considering the amazing premise.
A cool idea poorly executed. (Picture book. 3-7)