The Book That Jake Borrowed

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More than one children’s librarian has turned into children’s author on the side, a couple of them friends of mine. A new example recently showed up at my door from a librarian author with whom I was not familiar. Susan Holt Kralovansky may have taken The Book That Jake Borrowed from personal experience. 

In a “house that Jack built” kind of sequence there is the jelly that dripped on the book that Jack borrowed, followed by the rat who ate the jelly, and the cat who caught the rat who ate the jelly . . . until Jake has to crack his piggy bank to pay for the book which he takes back to the all-forlorn librarian, lecturing about books with pages torn. Thankfully, all turns out well as she lets him check out, not one book, but four. Susan’s clever illustrations enhance the story and invite the child to return for a more intense examination after the story is read aloud by his favorite adult reader.

In an amusing and clever marketing ploy, the book Jake borrowed from the library and several others in the background turn out to be previous books by the author. If you are the illustrator as well as the author, that can happen! I found the book delightful, and my opinion was confirmed by my two favorite picture book lovers.

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