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The Children's Bookshelf: No Cats in the Library - April 14, 2024

No Cats In The Library written and illustrated by Lauren Emmons is a wonderful look at a very determined cat named Clarisse who loves books. When she notices a building where people go in and then come out with books, she decides she will do the same thing.

First, she follows people in through the front door of what turns out to be a library. The librarian quickly picks her up and takes her outside. Next Clarisse tries riding into the library on a child’s bookbag. The librarian again puts her outside saying, “No cats in the library. Sorry.”

Clarisse then walks around the library looking for another way to get inside when she spots something called a Book Drop. The illustration here is delightful as Clarisse, after several attempts, jumps high enough to land inside the book drop and roll round and round and upside down into the library itself! She lands in a basket of returned books.

Looking for a book with pictures, Clarisse settles down with a little girl who is delighted to read to her aloud. Interesting to note here is the fact that the librarian notices the two and allows Clarisse to stay. “Clarisse had never been read to before. It was amazing!”

The illustrations are rich in hot orange, spicy yellow and soothing green colors as well as the smiling faces of children enjoying the busy library. The final spread shows seven children telling stories aloud to Clarisse. There is also a sign nearby that says “Read To Our CAT! Every day from 12 pm – 4pm.”

NO CATS IN THE LIBRARY written and illustrated by Lauren Emmons is perfect for children 4-7 years of age (Simon and Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books) 2024.

The Children’s Bookshelf is a production of WCMU. Links to the podcast and the Activity Questions can be found at Children’s Bookshelf dot org.

Activity Questions for No Cats in The Library

At first the librarian did not want Clarisse inside the library. Why? After a while the librarian finally became happy to have Clarisse inside the library every day. Why?

Draw your own picture of the children all happily reading to Clarisse. Be sure to include pictures of the books you would select for this daily storytelling event.


Sue Ann Martin is professor emerita of Communication and Dramatic Arts and the founding and past Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. She first became interested in children’s literature when she wrote her PhD thesis on the oral characteristics of the Caldecott Award-winning children’s books. Her PhD is in Speech and Interpretation with a cognate in Early Childhood Education. She went on to review children’s books for the Detroit Free Press, write three popular resource books for teachers regarding children’s books and the creative process. She also reviewed newly-published books for Arts Almanac specials on WCMU Public Radio. Her 2002 children’s books special for WCMU won a Merit Award in Special Interest Programming from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.