Patsy Pickle, Library Designer

3 Jan

“There it is,” Patsy exclaimed as she pulled her library book out from under the sofa, the place all library books seem to end up. Patsy loved library day and was glad she found her book to return.

Mrs. Massey the teacher-librarian told her class about book awards and how to tell if a book was especially excellent by the gold Caldecott medal.

“How many books have won the Caldecott medal Mrs. Massey?” Patsy asked.

“I think it’s 75 Patsy.”

“Mmmm,” Patsy proclaimed, “I’m going to read every book that won a Caldecott!”

“That is a wonderful goal, Patsy. But I don’t think we have every Caldecott award-winning book in the library.” She didn’t sound like she believed Patsy would read all of the books either.

“My great uncle Ulysses will buy them for me. He says education is the most important thing in the world. He buys me books and science kits and art supplies..and one time, he bought…”

“That’s wonderful Patsy,” Mrs. Massey interrupted, giving Patsy and everyone in Patsy’s class a bookmark that listed all of the Caldecott award-winning books.

The next week during library time, Mrs. Massey announced that she was looking for a very special student to be on the Library Committee. That person would need to love reading and visiting the library. Patsy wrote her name in her neatest handwriting and put it in the choosing basket. She crossed her fingers and closed her eyes thinking lucky thoughts when Mrs. Massey picked a name.

“Patsy Pickle” Mrs. Massey called. “Come see me during your recess Patsy, and we’ll talk about your new job. Congratulations.”

Wow a job. Patsy had a job, and she was only six-and-a-half years-old. She was on the library committee.

On Monday, Patsy came to the library during recess to talk to Mrs. Massey about her new job. She had her brand new library committee notebook to write down important information.

“So Mrs. Massey, what are my jobs on the library committee?”

“Well honey, it’s not a very hard job. You just come to meetings and we talk about the library and sometimes I might ask your opinion about the library.”

“I’m really good at opinions. But going to meetings doesn’t sound like a real job. Mrs. Massey.”

“You’d be surprised how many meetings you go to when you have a real job.”

“I’ve been thinking Mrs. Massey.  Since one of my special talents is decor, I think that is what my job will be, making the decor of the library better. Decor is the decorations in the library Mrs. Massey, like pictures and pillows. I can help make our library an enchanting place.”

“I’d love to haven an enchanting library,  but our school doesn’t have money to make a lot of changes. I’m not sure what we can do for our decor,” Mrs. Massey said rolling her eyes a little.

On Tuesday, Patsy came to the library to read birthdays on the news show and tell Mrs. Massey about one of her ideas for the library decor.

“In A Sick Day for Amos McGee, there are all of these great zoo animals and I think we should have a library zoo, with a giant stuffed elephant, rhinoceros and penguin or maybe an owl. I’m not sure which one,” Patsy told Mrs. Massey.

“Of course, ” said Mrs. Massey as she sipped her morning juice and put books back on the shelves. “That sounds lovely.”

On Wednesday, Patsy returned the book, Kitten’s First Full Moon, and told Mrs. Massey, “I think it would be beautiful if we had a round skylight in the middle of the library and it looked like a full moon.”

“Oh Patsy, that is another lovely idea. You are quite the decorator.”

“Thank you. Like I said, decorating is my special talent.  I’ve been thinking of talking to my Uncle Ulysses about helping pay for the new library decor.”

“Patsy, it is nice that your uncle buys you books, but putting in skylights and buying giant stuffed animals could be expensive. It’s fun to just think of the ideas though, isn’t it Patsy?”

On Thursday, Patsy worked in the library straightening shelves in the S section of the everybody books. “I used to think black and white pictures were dull, until I read The House in the Night. Now I really like black and white. I think it would be nice to have black and white photographs of students in our library.”

“Maybe we could ask our principal if we can have some money for framing pictures,” replied Mrs. Massey.

“Or I could ask Uncle Ulysses. That might be easier.”

On Friday, Patsy brought a surprise to show Mrs. Massey. She unwrapped the brown paper and showed her The Little Island. “This book belonged to Uncle Ulysses. It won the Caldecott in 1947. He says reading all of the Caldecotts is a super, fantastic goal and he sent me this book to help. Isn’t it beau-ti-ful?” she stretched out the word.

“What a lovely book Patsy. It is beau-ti-ful. You have a very special uncle.”

On Saturday, Patsy went to the public library and sat in a comfy chair reading all of the Caldecott books she could find. She had read 25 and couldn’t wait to tell Mrs. Massey.

On Monday, Patsy saw there was a substitute teacher in the library. “Where is Mrs. Massey?”

“She had her baby over the weekend. She’s going to be out of school for a while.”

“What? But I’m on the library committee and I’ve been working on the library decor. I need her to be here so we can make the library an enchanting place in our school, ” Patsy whined.

“I’m sorry,” the substitute said, “but she won’t be back for a few weeks.”

Weeks! Patsy sighed. She could keep reading her Caldecott books and working on the decor. She’d show Mrs. Massey her ideas when she got back.

Patsy kept reading her Caldecott books and telling Mrs. Small, the substitute, about her decor ideas, like having a mural with fantastic characters on it like Joseph in Joseph Had an Little Overcoat, the lion and mouse from The Lion and the Mouse, and the window from The Hello Goodbye Window.  The more books she read, the more characters and scenery she wanted  in the mural she was planning in her library committee notebook. Library day wasn’t the same without Mrs. Massey, but Patsy kept reading her Caldecott books and had read 37 more books since Mrs. Massey had been gone.

The next library day, Mrs. Small, the substitute, had crayons, markers and poster paper for students to make welcome back posters for Mrs. Massey. She was coming back next week! Patsy knew exactly what she wanted to make. She used her library committee book and drew the library with all of her special decor. At home, Patsy was still drawing her poster at the kitchen table when who knocked on the door? Uncle Ulysses. He brought a special gift, the last Caldecott book that she hadn’t read, Animals of the Bible : a picture book, the first book to win the Caldecott medal. She’d read 74 books (and now had #75)  just in time for Mrs. Massey’s return to school. Patsy told Uncle Ulysses all about Mrs. Massey coming back next week, the Welcome Back Party that they were having on library day, being on the library committee and her special decor project.

Patsy wore her favorite blue sailor dress for library day. The dress reminded her of the one Mirette wore in Mirette on the High Wire. She couldn’t wait to see Mrs. Massey and show her the poster she’d made.

Mrs. Massey was excited to see her too and gave Patsy a big hug. She loved the poster and was surprised and proud when Patsy told her she had just finished her 75th Caldecott book.

“That is the best gift you could have given me Patsy. I am so impressed.” That’s when Patsy saw Uncle Ulysses walk into the library. He gave Mrs. Massey a small envelope and they both oohed and ahhed over Patsy’s poster and her Caldecott challenge.

“I am so glad to meet you Uncle Ulysses,” Mrs. Massey said. “Patsy talks about you so much and I wanted to thank you for helping her get the Caldecott books that we didn’t have.”

“That’s one reason I brought you this,” Uncle Ulysses said. “I’d like for all of your students to be able to read all of the Caldecott books, so I think this check will help you buy those books. There’s also some for your decor. I hear that you have a great designer on your library committee to help you spend it.”

Mrs. Massey opened the envelope and her eyes got huge as she looked at the check. “Why, ummm, yes Uncle Ulysses. This will help a lot! This is so generous of you. It’s the best…..I mean almost the best gift I could have gotten.” She looked at Patsy. “I’m glad I have a wonderful designer and reader to help me make our library’s decor more enchanting!”

[illustrator note: library with murals, stuffed animals, etc. as described in book.]



One Response to “Patsy Pickle, Library Designer”

  1. livingkim February 20, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    Caldecott Winning Books Referenced

    A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Philip C. Stead, Erin E. Stead, ill.
    Kitten’s First Full Moon, Kevin Henkes
    The House in the Night, Susan Marie Swanson, Beth Krommes, ill.
    The Little Island
    Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, Simms Taback
    The Lion and the Mouse
    The Hello Goodbye Window
    Mirette on the High Wire, Emily Arnold McCully
    Animals of the Bible: a picture book, Dorothy Pulis Lathrop, Helen Dean Fish, ill.

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