Here Lies the Librarian

Here Lies the Librarian

3.8 11
by Richard Peck
     
 

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Peewee idolizes Jake, a big brother whose dreams of auto mechanic glory are fueled by the hard road coming to link their Indiana town and futures with the twentieth century. And motoring down the road comes Irene Ridpath, a young librarian with plans to astonish them all and turn Peewee’s life upside down. Here Lies the Librarian, with its quirky characters,… See more details below

Overview

Peewee idolizes Jake, a big brother whose dreams of auto mechanic glory are fueled by the hard road coming to link their Indiana town and futures with the twentieth century. And motoring down the road comes Irene Ridpath, a young librarian with plans to astonish them all and turn Peewee’s life upside down. Here Lies the Librarian, with its quirky characters, folksy setting, classic cars, and hilariously larger-than-life moments, is vintage Richard Peck—an offbeat, deliciously wicked comedy that is also unexpectedly moving.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Once again, Peck (The Teacher's Funeral) combines warmth, humor and local color to create a vibrant rendering of small-town America. Set in 1914, an era when women hobbled their skirts, and automobiles with "an electric self-starter" were still a novelty ("Crank from your seat, not from the street," went the Cadillac motto), the novel traces the eventful 14th summer of narrator "Peewee" McGrath, an orphaned tomboy who would rather help her brother tinker with cars than go to school. Both Peewee and her brother, Jake, long for the day when a road is built through their Indiana township, bringing business to their makeshift auto repair shop. In the meantime, four young librarians arrive from Indianapolis and stir up some dust-they're bent on spreading culture and reviving the long defunct local library. Irene, their ringleader, teaches Peewee a thing or two about being a lady. Her coworker Grace, the daughter of an automobile mogul, wheedles smiles and conversation out of painfully shy Jake. The story culminates at the county fair where Irene, Grace, Jake and Peewee join forces and skills to compete in the township's first annual road race. Offering plenty of action and a cast of larger-than-life characters, the book pays tribute to the social and industrial revolution, which awakens a sleepy town and marks the coming-of-age of an unforgettable heroine. Ages 10-16. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Once again Richard Peck weaves his magic with a tapestry of characters both unique and universal. Fourteen-year-old Peewee appears to be Jake's younger brother until her long hair falls out from under her cap and the elegant new librarian in town discovers that Peewee is really Eleanor. Inside herself, mostly-Peewee battles with a little bit of Eleanor. Sympathetic to Peewee/Eleanor's coming-of-age struggles, librarian Irene Ridpath shows that she learned a lot more than how to catalog books as a co-educational student in Library Science at Butler University. Ever-present Aunt Hat and Colonel Hazelrigg are laughable but lovable. Peck's narrative is alive and memorable. During Peewee's nighttime trip to the graveyard, her "flesh felt like moss in a bait can." There are battles with the big Kirby boys and an adrenalin-charged stock car race. By the end, Peewee/Eleanor concludes that she "got better and better at being myself because who wants to be everybody else?" 2006, Dial Books/Penguin, Ages 10 to 14.
—Karen Leggett
VOYA
Education is not a high priority for Eleanor "Peewee" McGrath; she would much rather be repairing cars at her brother's garage than reading books. In fact, she would prefer that no one know she is female at all. Although her small Indiana town would like Peewee to dress and act more like a young lady, they generally agree with her opinion of books. The town librarian was not a popular woman, and when she died, the townspeople decided to close the library altogether. Peewee is looking forward to graduating eighth grade and devoting herself fully to helping her brother build the car that will win the upcoming race at the 1914 county fair. Things begin to change when a group of overenthusiastic librarians come to town to reopen the library and take Peewee under their wing. As they try to teach the town the importance of education, Peewee begins to see that she might have more potential than she ever realized. Peck has a talent for placing quirky characters in absurd situations while still making the story seem entirely plausible. He does it well here; the characters are often silly but ultimately relatable. The book has a gentle humor, similar to Polly Horvath's novels, which will satisfy the many fans of his earlier works. This book will appeal more to younger teens, but those who pick it up will be infected with the enthusiasm of Peewee and her unlikely group of friends. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, Dial, 208p., Ages 11 to 15.
—Stephanie L. Petruso
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Another gem from Peck, with his signature combination of quirky characters, poignancy, and outrageous farce. Parentless Peewee, 14, and Jake, the big brother she idolizes, live in rural Indiana in 1914. They run a small garage, but face nasty sabotaging from the rival Kirbys. The novel opens with a hilariously macabre twister that tears up Buelahland Cemetery, turning up coffins, and strews Mrs. B. D. Klinefelder's laundry, including her massive step-ins, around the county. The tornado doesn't dare to touch the stern former librarian's grave. The board of trustees closed the library after her death, but that situation is about to change. Irene Ridpath, a library science student from Butler University, arrives with her three equally pretty and wealthy sorority sisters, all of whom drive fabulous cars, sparking Jake's interest (not just in their cars). After many pranks and hijinks, Peewee ends up being the only finisher in a rough-and-ready auto race, an event recounted in the closing chapter when she is an elderly, although still spunky, old lady. A master of capturing voice, Peck aptly conveys the nuances of rural life in the early years of the last century while weaving in early feminism, the history of the automobile, and the message to be oneself. Kids will love the fast-paced action and librarians will guffaw over all the library puns.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"Who'd want to be in the pit crew when you could be in the race?" asks Irene Ridpath, the new librarian at14-year-old Eleanor McGrath's school. It's 1914 in the unincorporated Hazelrigg Settlement in Hendricks County, Ind., and feisty Irene and three other Library Science students from Butler University have come to town to fill the vacancy left when the elderly former librarian Electra Dietz died, heaven having stamped her OVERDUE. The young ladies plan to expand the 225-book collection, add shelving, a Photostat machine, lighting and subscriptions to all major magazines. And if the library is remade, so is Eleanor, transformed, with Irene's help, from grease monkey to young woman with a sense of herself in the world, who wins the first ten-mile stock car race in Hendricks County history. As always, Peck writes with humor and affection about times past, elders and growing up strong. This ode to librarians is a fine companion to Peck's ode to schoolteachers, The Teacher's Funeral (2004). (Fiction. 10+)
From the Publisher
"As always, Peck writes with humor and affection about times past, elders and growing up strong. This ode to librarians is a fine companion to Peck’s ode to schoolteachers, The Teachers Funeral." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Kids will love the fast-paced action and librarians will guffaw over all the library puns." -School Library Journal, starred review

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101200551
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
04/20/2006
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
210,517
Lexile:
780L (what's this?)
File size:
0 MB
Age Range:
10 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"As always, Peck writes with humor and affection about times past, elders and growing up strong. This ode to librarians is a fine companion to Peck’s ode to schoolteachers, The Teachers Funeral." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Kids will love the fast-paced action and librarians will guffaw over all the library puns." -School Library Journal, starred review

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