The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara

I was instantly drawn to the illustrations of Kazuno Kohara when I was working as a bookseller and discovered the paperback edition of Ghosts in the House! back in 2010. Ghosts in the House! is the rare Halloween-themed picture book - one that captures the spirit of the holiday while also offering just the right amount of spooky for little listeners. Kohara's book was a joy to read at story time that year and made it onto my list of Halloween books worth buying, which you can read here.

Kohara's linocut illustrations offer bold, black, textured prints accentuated with one or two colors and ver very visually appealing, as are her characters, who have a childlike resourcefulness that shines through in every book. In Ghosts in the House!, a little witch and her cat solve the problem of a haunted house by washing the ghosts and hanging them out to dry like sheets, then turning them into all sorts of domestic delights, from tablecloths to quilts. In Here Comes Jack Frost, a mopey little boy discovers the joys of winter when he finds a new friend. 

Kohara has a way of perfectly pairing her illustrations and story and it is exciting to see her work her magic in her third picture book and her first non-holiday themed work.

Being a book lover and a newly minted elementary school librarian, The Midnight Library is an absolute joy to read, over and over. But, you don't have to be a book lover to enjoy The Midnight Library. Kohara fills the library with wonderful animal characters, each with different quirks, tastes and habits when it comes to books...

The Midnight Library begins with the librarian and her three owl assistants preparing to open the doors to the Midnight Library. As the patrons come rolling in, the little librarian and her assistants help each and every one find just the right book.

However, not all visitors to the Midnight Library seem to understand the way a library works . . . There are musical squirrels who disrupt the quiet and a wolf who weeps uncontrollably over the sad part of her book. Finally, there is a slow-reading tortoise who refuses to leave the library until he finishes reading his 500 page book.

Flustered at first, the little librarian and her assistants find the perfect solution to this (and every) dilemma! The Midnight Library ends on the perfect note with the librarian and owls retiring (up a circular staircase) to their cozy home where they prepare for bed (as the sun rises) by reading a book of bedtime stories!

Once again, Kazuno Kohara delivers a beautifully illustrated sweet story that has the feel of a classic. The Midnight Library is sure to have a place on the shelves for years to come!

Source: A Bookstore!

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