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Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Library
     

Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Library

5.0 1
by Eth Clifford
 

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Mary Rose and Jo-Beth are sisters who hardly ever agree on anything, but they both feel as if this night will never end. First their car runs out of gas in an unfamiliar city and their father goes in search of a gas station. Then Jo-Beth makes Mary Rose go with her to find a bathroom and they stumble across a curious old library. And then, worst of all, they get

Overview

Mary Rose and Jo-Beth are sisters who hardly ever agree on anything, but they both feel as if this night will never end. First their car runs out of gas in an unfamiliar city and their father goes in search of a gas station. Then Jo-Beth makes Mary Rose go with her to find a bathroom and they stumble across a curious old library. And then, worst of all, they get locked in! But their troubles are just beginning. Is Jo-Beth right about the library being haunted by banshees? Or is there a logical explanation, as Mary Rose claims?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
A new baby brother or sister is on the way, their dad's car has run out of gas, and a blizzard is in progress—Mary Rose and Jo-Beth wonder if the night could possibly get any worse. However, that is only the start of their adventures. This delightful novel tells the tale of two sisters, who manage to get locked in a rather unusual library. The two girls are opposites: Mary Rose is responsible and down to earth, while her younger sister Jo-Beth is pessimistic, dramatic, and extremely vocal. Odd noises and the appearance of strange statues unite them, as the girls begin to wonder if the library might be haunted. Especially enjoyable for all library and museum lovers, Clifford's novel is a wonderfully appealing mystery that is perfect for younger readers. Charming illustrations grace the occasional page, adding extra life to the story. The lively narration could also make this a fun title to read aloud in the classroom. 2004 (orig. 1979), Houghton Mifflin Company, Ages 8 to 10.
—Laura Ruttig
From the Publisher

"Clifford's extraordinary talents as a writer who keeps the action and surprises coming underpin her new antic adventure, its many moods ably depicted in Hughes's 15 drawings." Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780590406055
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
02/07/1991

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Clifford's extraordinary talents as a writer who keeps the action and surprises coming underpin her new antic adventure, its many moods ably depicted in Hughes's 15 drawings." Publishers Weekly

Meet the Author


Eth Clifford's best-known title, Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Library (1979), concerns a situation she would no doubt welcome. A passionate reader as a child, she became a dedicated author and editor with scores of her own titles on library shelves. Clifford was born on Christmas Day in New York City and moved several times as a child. She remembers learning to read in a one-room schoolhouse set in an apple orchard, and she discovered the public library when her family later moved to Philadelphia. At age sixteen, she met her future husband at a poetry reading in Brooklyn, and it was he who encouraged her to begin writing while he was stationed in the South Pacific during World War II. Clifford began with short stories and soon published her first adult novel, Go Fight City Hall (1949), which was a Reader's Digest Book of the Month and was excerpted in humor anthologies. Clifford, her husband, and their daughter later moved to Indiana, where they lived for twenty years. While there, Clifford contributed to many social studies, science, and language arts textbooks for children, and this work eventually developed into her primary interest -- writing children's fiction. Clifford's books for children cover a wide range of ages and subject matter. Her youngest readers can match their sleuthing abilities against an animal detective in Flatfoot Fox and the Case of the Missing Eye (1990), handsomely illustrated by Brian Lies. Middle-grade readers enjoy Clifford's deft combination of suspense and humor in a mystery adventure series of five novels about Mary Rose and Jo-Beth Onetree, the sisters who were first introduced in Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Library, which won the 1982 Young Hoosier Award. Among the story's appealing elements are the believable relationship between the practical and responsible Mary Rose and her younger, very dramatic sister and the real sense of fear generated as the girls feel their way through the darkened rooms of the old mansion turned library. Subsequent adventures find the sisters sleuthing in such places as a ghost town and a shoe museum. All five books were illustrated by George Hughes. Clifford often incorporates interesting factual information into her humorous works. Children reading Harvey's Marvelous Monkey Mystery (1987) have an opportunity to learn about the companion monkeys who are trained to perform useful services for their physically challenged owners. In The Rocking Chair Rebellion (1978), a book for teens that includes contemporary problems, a young girl finds herself involved with the distresses of the elderly when she volunteers to work for the aged. This book was made into an "ABC Afterschool Special." Some of Clifford's books are written with a simplicity of style coupled with an emotional resonance that appeal to readers of all ages. The Remembering Box (1985) is a quiet and beautifully told story of the legacy that a Jewish grandmother gives her grandson and the understanding between them that allows the boy to accept her death. Clifford once called her ambition the desire to "rival Scheherazade and tell one thousand and one stories." She has succeeded in creating a readership that looks to her for a variety of books, all with strong characterization, sensitive treatment of relationships, authentic detail, and wonderful adventure.

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