#317 – Library Lily by Gillian Shields


Library Lily

by Gillian Shields

Francesca Chessa, illustrator

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

5 Stars


Lily read all the way through a

sizzling summer . . .

an awesome autumn . . .

and a wonderful winter.

And when spring

came around again . . .

she didn’t notice.

She was in a beautiful dream.

She was reading.

Jacket:  Lily loves reading.  She loves it so much, in fact, that she forgets to do much else.  But one sunny day, Lilly meets a new friend who doesn’t like to read at all.  Milly shows Lily that adventures can also happen outside the pages of a book, and together the girls go on exploring through both backyards and books—and find on the way that adventures are best with a friend along.

First Sentence:  When Lily learned to read her mother was very pleased.



When Lily learned to read her mother was so pleased she took Lily to the library to get her card.  From then on Lily read . . ., and read . . ., and read.

Lily did not stop reading for anything.  When she should be asleep, Lily was under her blanket with a flashlight and book in hand.  While Lily brushed her teeth, she was also reading a book.  When anyone spoke to her, Lily didn’t hear.  She was busy reading a new adventure.  Mom laughed at these antics, so very pleased that Lily was reading.  In fact, Lily read so often and in so many places that she acquired the nickname Library Lily.

Lily’s mom took her to the park and encouraged her to put her book down and play.  Lily was more interested in finishing the adventure she was reading.  With more encouragement, Lily walked away but with her book in hand.  She met Milly.  Milly’s idea of reading was simple.

“I hate reading!”

Milly liked “Playing.  Climbing.  Exploring.”  Lily and Milly became fast friends.  Milly took Lily on adventures outdoors and Lily took Milly on adventures in books.  They both became explorers, exploring the whole world together.  And when they returned home?  Lily wrote about their exploring in a book called, The Adventures of Lily and Molly.”  They remained best friends forever!



We write books to get children to read and to start reading at an early age.  The earlier they read better.  The more they read the better.  Then along comes a picture book, Library Lily, with a child reading so much her mother tries to get her to play.  A shocker, I know.  Then, Lily meets the type of child many writers try to reach.  Lily meets the reluctant reader; the “I hate reading” child.  Lily and Milly are opposites and they attracted each other becoming best friends.  Lily entered Milly’s world and plays outdoors having real adventures.  Milly allows Lily to read to her, and Milly enters the world of books.  How wonderful is that?  By entering Milly’s world, Lily was able to get Milly interested in literary adventures.  There is a message to children’s writers in there somewhere.

I really liked Library Lily because at first Lily showed us how much fun and engrossing a book could be.  Later, Milly showed us we need real world adventures, too.  Together, the girls show us the importance of friendship.  We do not need to wait until we can explore the world as adults to emulate Lily.  Kids can turn any adventure or trip into a book with the correct amount of energy.  Exploring takes work.  Writing takes work, too.


The illustrations are wonderfully bright, cheerful, and well detailed.  Each spread could become a game of Where’s Waldo without Waldo. The illustrations express Lily’s joy of reading.  I like the smiles on everyone’s face that meet Lily or surround her on a page.  It is as if they all approve of Lily reading.  While I love the detail on each spread, a small detail in one corner confuses me.  The third spread has the capital letters “B” and “M” in the far lower right corner.  I could not figure out why, but I bet some older kids will have fun with those letters.

Library Lily is a fun picture book that will interest children in reading, exploring, and writing, but mostly reading.  Lily reading to Milly reminds me of the people and dogs that read to kids at the library or listen to kids as they read.  I think children can learn a lot from Library Lily and be entertained by her story.  Lily makes reading look fun and a bit bad when she becomes so engrossed in the book’s adventure that she doesn’t hear her mother or ignores all but her book.

Library Lily is a book children will want read to them often.  Parents will enjoy reading this book multiple times.  It has several great messages.  Reading is fun!  Exploring the outdoors and playing is fun!  Doing these with a friend is even more fun!  Those are great messages and a lot for the author to express in only 28 pages.  Library Lily is worth keeping!

Award:  2012 Patterson Prize for Books for Young People, Pre-K to Grade 3

Library Lily

by Gillian Shields   
Francesca Chessa, illustrator    website   blog   
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers    website   blog   facebook   twitter    pinterest
Released 2011
ISBN:  978-0-8028-5401-8
28 Pages
Ages: 4 to 8
Text:  Copyright © 2011 by Gillian Shields
Illustrations:  Copyright © by Francesca Chessa
Illustrations used with permission from Eerdmans Publishing.






15 thoughts on “#317 – Library Lily by Gillian Shields

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  5. What a great story line! Lily and Milly are definitely a team to follow. The illustrations are bright and fun. Sounds like a wonderful book.


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  7. Lily sounds like me when I get (what I call) the Readitis or Book-Wander. For Readitis, I go in a trance and block out everything. For Book-Wander, I walk around and read, but my senses strengthen. 🙂


    • Readitis sounds like a disease of the eyeballs from reading too much. If you block out everything, what do you see or do?

      Book-Wander strengthens your senses? Which ones and do you become a superhero? Maybe Captain Chapter or Super Synopsis? Fantastic Fiction? How about, Filbert Fan Fiction the First (or 4Fiction)? Or . . . 😆


      • OK, I have a unique sense of where people and objects are via peripheral vision. And the other one, (Readitis) I forget time and just read. I feel that I read slowly (during that time) but I usually find out I read A LOT. 🙂


        • I think I may have readitis, too. I have the same problem. Time flies by, but I don’t know it, and I have read or written more than I thought. Yeah for READITIS!! (It may be an occupational hazard of reviewing books.) 🙂


    • I didn’t notice that. Lily, Milly, and Gilly. Cool. I can see why you are a popular celebrity at the library. So observant. This is a great book for a story hour at the library. (hint, hint) 🙂


  8. I love this idea. Important lessons for both girls – and for some picture book writers, too. Without some real adventure, there’s nothing in your head to write about! Life is all about balance.


    • Balance. I try to balance on one foot in physical therapy and I just cannot do it. If I were not in a pool, I’d fall flat on my face. I am not sure I am a fan of balance. 😦


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