No-Cook Chocolate Valentine Hearts
Balancing Games

Library Lion

by Michelle Knudsen
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

If you consider making a new friend a momentous occasion, then mark today down on your calendar. The lion in Library Lion is a special fellow who has the rare combination of strength, heart, loyalty, and vulnerability that makes him the perfect hero in this timeless picture book that shows sometimes there is a good reason to break the rules.



Michelle Knudsen has told a story that is the perfect blend of humor, charm, exceptional storytelling, and valuable life lessons and readers of all ages will want to own a copy of this delightful book because returning the copy to the library would simply leave too much of an empty place on the bookshelf at home. Kevin Hawkes illustrations are brilliant, full of emotion, movement and detail and are the perfect fit for this delightful story. Hurray for Library Lion!


In this Issue


Library Lion Pasta

Library Lion Pasta - Library Lion -

Have a roaring good time playing with your food when making this Library Lion Pasta. Basic pasta-and-tomato sauce is transformed into something special when forming the lion's mane. 

After the pasta is topped with the sauce, let young readers spoon it around a toasted sandwich round. Add features with any spare ingredients you have on hand. 

Library Lion Pasta

Ingredients for Pasta

  • 12 ounces whole wheat rotini pasta
  • 1 jar tomato pasta sauce
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and top with pasta sauce. 

To Make a Lion

  1. Toast a sandwich round. Lightly butter (this would also make good garlic bread). Place sandwich round in the middle of a large plate. 
  2. Spoon pasta around outside edges of sandwich round to make the mane. 
  3. Get creative when making the features on your lion. We used sliced olives for eyes (from a veggie pizza in the fridge!) , a sundried tomato for a nose, chow mein noodle whiskers, pieces of string cheese for the mouth, and slices of baby carrots for the ears. 


Balancing Games

Miss Merriweather takes a tumble in the library while balancing on a step stool to reach a book. While her mistake was trying to balance on her tiptoes while on the step stool, working on balance is an important gross motor skill for children to develop. Have some Book Play fun inspired by Miss Merriweather and try some of our favorite balancing games.

Simon Says Balance On….

  • 1 foot
  • 1 foot with both arms over your head
  • 1 foot with the other touching your knee
  • 1 foot and 2 hands
  • 1 foot and 2 elbows
  • 1 foot and 1 hand
  • 2 hands and 2 feet
  • 2 knees and 2 elbows
  • Your bottom and 2 hands with no feet touching the floor
  • Your bottom and 1 hand with no feet touching the floor
  • Your tiptoes

There’s A Lion On Your Head!

Place a small stuffed lion toy (or any other stuffed creature you have on hand) on your young reader’s head.

Invite your reader to walk from one point to another without dropping the lion.
As skill improves, expand the directions to walk slow, fast, forward, backward, sideways, zigzagging or even try turning in a circle.

Walk the Line Balance Game

Make a balance beam on the floor by placing a strip about 5 feet long in a straight line on the floor. You want the strip to be about 3 inches wide.

Invite your child to:

  • Walk the line
  • Hop down the line on two feet
  • Hop down the line on one foot
  • Walk down the line on tiptoes
  • Place a stuffed lion on the line half way down the line. Invite your child to:
  • Walk down the line and step over the lion
  • Walk down the line and squat down and pick up the lion while keeping both feet on the tape then finish walking the line
  • Walk down the line, squat down and pick up the lion then turn around and go back to the beginning while keeping both feet on the tape

Make Your Own Romper Stompers

Do you have memories stepping up on the yellow cups and grabbing the green strings then taking off on your Romper Stompers? I spent many an hour clomping through the house, not realizing I was actually improving my balance and coordination and not just playing for the heck of it. Although you can still find versions of these toys to buy, the wonderful folks at Martha Stewart have given us directions for making your own in the form of elephant feet. If you and your young reader decide to make a pair send us a pic and let us know if Romper Stompers are still as fun today as they once were!



Paper Bag Lion Puppet

Paper Bag Lion Puppet - Library Lion -

Paper Bag Lion Puppet - Library Lion -

Kevin Hawkes expressive illustrations of Library Lion makes readers fall in love with the soulful, gentle creature and the thought of having him as a friend inspires thoughts of all kinds of adventures. Make those adventures come true by supplying a variety of craft materials and watching your young reader bring his or her version of Library Lion to life.

Be sure to have extra lunch bags on hand in case your reader wants to create Miss Merriweather and Mr. McBee puppets as well. 

Have you read The Lion & the Mouse? If you have, young readers might also like our Mouse Puppets from Boo to You. Puppet show anyone?

Paper Bag Lion Puppet

What You Will Need

  • Paper lunch bag
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Crayons or markers

How To Do It

  1. Place the lunch bag on your hand and demonstrate how the base if the bag will be the face and the folded area will be the puppet’s mouth.
  2. Invite your young reader to create a Library Lion puppet by cutting and gluing construction paper to the lunch bag.
  3. Crayons or markers could be used to add details.

Why We Like It

  • Using scissors and glue helps build fine motor skills
  • This activity is wonderful for letting imaginations run free.

Related Post: Cardboard Box Puppet Theater


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