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Alfred Zector, Book Collector

Overview

In his warm, weathered house, stuffed in crannies and nooks, were heaps, rows, and stacks of beloved bound books.

The only thing that brings Alfred Zector joy is collecting books. And so he sets out on a mission to collect every last one, until his home on the hill is stretched at the seams with books big and small. But what happens when the rest of the townspeople have nothing left to read? In this clever rhyming story, Alfred Zector discovers...

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Overview

In his warm, weathered house, stuffed in crannies and nooks, were heaps, rows, and stacks of beloved bound books.

The only thing that brings Alfred Zector joy is collecting books. And so he sets out on a mission to collect every last one, until his home on the hill is stretched at the seams with books big and small. But what happens when the rest of the townspeople have nothing left to read? In this clever rhyming story, Alfred Zector discovers what it means to find true joy in a good book.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jean Boreen
This story follows Alfred Zector, a young boy who decides that he wants more and more books. It is not clear in the early pages of the book if he even reads any of the books, but he definitely spends his time trying to get his hands on all the books he can. As he gets older, he begins talking people out of their books, even trading his shiny red bike to a child for "the last book in town." When Alfred gets the last book, he retires to his home to finally start reading them all. Years and years pass; meanwhile, no one else in town seemingly has anything to read. Finally, an elderly Alfred reads the last book and has a moment of clarity: "The joy he'd once felt/was replaced by sheer doom/The books that he loved/had created his tomb!" Thus, Alfred left his house and shared his books. I have to admit that this book left me feeling more than a bit concerned about the message it sends to younger readers; while Alfred was "in" to books, his lack of perspective on every day balance made him eventually feel that the books had kept him from experiencing life. Further, in that there seemed to be a finite number of books in town, so many others missed the joys of a good book, the ones that change people's lives in so many wonderful ways. The illustrations are vibrant and detailed, but they cannot make up for the mixed messages found in the story. Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
Kirkus Reviews
Shy, bespectacled Alfred doesn't fit in with other kids; perhaps because of this, he falls in love with books at an early age and determines to collect them all. Finally, Alfred manages to round up the last book in town and, unsure of what to do, settles into his home to read each and every volume. Meanwhile, without books, life becomes dull for the other inhabitants of the town. When the very well-read and much older Alfred emerges, he brings books for the people as well as a lesson about sharing them. Pamintuan's bright, shiny, sharp-edged illustrations portray the young boy amid towering stacks and the rolling landscape of his small town as he and his collection grow, while tight, crisp rhymes trace his journey. If the story is both a tad predictable and a bit confusing (why did Alfred collect books if he didn't intend to read them?), the colorful pictures will draw children in, and the sprightly text will hold their attention. While its ultimate message may be worthy, however, this parable may be a little too opaque for child readers. (Picture book. 5-7)
School Library Journal
K Gr 3—A young boy's obsession with collecting leaves the rest of his town without books, as Alfred Zector creates his own lonely, book-filled prison. After spending years and years reading everything he owns, he realizes that something is missing in his life and he begins giving his treasures away. The story ends with the greeting-card phrase, "the best kinds of books are the books that are shared." Straining to make this point interesting, DiPucchio writes in predictable rhyme, which is illustrated with flat, cartoonish artwork. A better choice about what happens when a community's books disappear is Patricia Polacco's Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair (Philomel, 1996).—Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060005818
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/4/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 816,727
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Kelly DiPucchio is the author of numerous children's books, including the New York Times bestselling Grace for President. She also wrote Dinosnores, What's the Magic Word?, and Bed Hogs. Kelly lives in southeastern Michigan with her husband and three children.

Macky Pamintuan is an accomplished artist who lives in the Philippines with his wife, Aymone; their baby girl, Alison; and a West Highland white terrier named Winter.

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