"Beverly Billingsly Borrows a Book" Author: Alexander Stadler Publisher: Silver Whistle/Harcourt Inc. Ages: 3-7
Author-illustrator Alexander Stadler's first picture book, "Beverly Billingsly Borrows a Book," appeals on many fronts.
Beverly's mother has fed the child's love of books by taking Beverly to the library each week. And, finally, Beverly has her big day - she gets her first library book.
With pride and anticipation, she checks out her first book - one rich with dinosaur facts. The librarian, Mrs. Del Rubio, reminds Beverly of the due date, and the child goes home to learn of iguadonodon, ankylosaurus and more.
The book even inspires Beverly to build a prehistoric habitat.
Then the child discovers that her book's overdue. Friends warn of such dire consequences that Beverly fears to return the book.
But a dream, fueled by the dinosaurs about which she's read, helps Beverly confess to her mother and, finally, return the book. And the helpful librarian dispels the child's visions of heavy fines or even jail.
Instead, Mrs. Del Rubio helps Beverly pass on the book and her new dinosaur knowledge while feeding her love of reading.
The book reinforces many messages that parents want their kids to learn - the joy of reading, the need to be responsible for their actions, sharing knowledge, the fun of learning and more.
Stadler creates a tale that's satisfying on many levels and illustrates the action with whimsical color characters. Kids will enjoy the birdlike Mrs. Del Rubio, childlike dinosaur drawings and the warmth of the artwork.
The ideal introduction to the lessons and wonders that real kids can tap into with their own library cards.
Chris Rubich may be reached at 657-1301 or crubich@billings gazette.com.