The Library Card

( 13 )

Overview


From the Newbery-award winning author of Maniac Magee.

Mongoose, Brenda, Sonseray, and April have nothing in common...until a mysterious blue card appears as if by magic and begins to change each of their lives. None of them guesses it at first, but that strange blue card will be their ticket to the past--and to a future that they never imagined. In stories that range from humorous to heartbreaking, Newbery-award-winner Jerry Spinelli reveals ...

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Overview


From the Newbery-award winning author of Maniac Magee.

Mongoose, Brenda, Sonseray, and April have nothing in common...until a mysterious blue card appears as if by magic and begins to change each of their lives. None of them guesses it at first, but that strange blue card will be their ticket to the past--and to a future that they never imagined. In stories that range from humorous to heartbreaking, Newbery-award-winner Jerry Spinelli reveals the amazing possibilities lurking behind library doors.

The lives of four young people in different circumstances are changed by their encounters with books.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With this collection of four vaguely unsettling tales, Spinelli Maniac Magee offers a glimpse into the magical and unexpected ways contact with books can change lives. Many of the characters are less than likable, yet Spinelli tells their stories with sympathy and humor. The turning point for each of the troubled, lonely children comes with the discovery of a blank blue library card. In one story, a girl has ceased to exist on her own because of the endless hours she spends watching television. The blue card leads her to a library, where she finds the brief story of her life, prior to her TV mania, in the biography section. The details in the pages set her off on a frenetic search for the life she has lost. In another tale, a book-loving city girl has moved to farm country, where she meets an angry, confused teenager on a bookmobile. The blue card triggers an uneasy correspondence that eventually brings them together as friends. Spinelli's spare writing and careful pacing reinforce the dramatic nature of the events as they unfold. While the premise the card behind the stories may seem contrived, the author uses it effectively to take a close look at how young people deal with hard circumstances. Ages 8-14. Apr.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A library card prominently features in four short stories; "Spinelli's spare writing and careful pacing reinforce the dramatic nature of events as they unfold," said PW. Ages 8-14. (Sept.)
VOYA - Kitty Krahnke
Great news! Spinelli, a master storyteller, has done it again-with wit, an intuitive sense of character, and the knack to take the strange twists in life and make a great story. This book includes four stories tied together by the appearance of a mysterious blank blue card, which the character in each story thinks is and uses as a library card. Each of the four lives is altered because of this card. There is Mongoose (his tag name) who develops a passion for wacky facts after discovering the library and checking out the book I Wonder. Brenda, a TV addict, has excruciating withdrawal during the "Great TV Turn-off," until the blue card comes into her life. Sonsaray, a homeless, motherless, angry young man falls into a children's storytime and has his life changed. And there is April, who after living in New York and using its finest libraries, moves to the farm lands of Pennsylvania and flags down a very unusual bookmobile. The stories are witty and fun, yet they relate some powerful and complicated lives. Spinelli weaves their tales so well that in the short span of each story we know these characters and care for them. Teens will fall for the tales because they are bizarre and are filled with wit, humor, and a touch of suspense. A bonus for librarians is the fantastic image of our profession: the gentle, caring, and intuitive librarians in the book. VOYA Codes: 5Q 5P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written, Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
Children's Literature - Mary Sue Preissner
With the common denominator being a library card, Spinelli presents four very different stories of some particularly interesting adolescents. Mongoose and Weasel's favorite recreational activity is to rob the mini-mart of snack cakes, until Mongoose discovers that another building in town offers more excitement. While struggling to cope with turn-off-your-TV week, Brenda not only survives this harrowing ordeal, but her parents find the child they lost to puberty. Homeless Sonseray finds that story time and an old book can reunite him with his long-dead mother. In escaping the stench of her family's new mushroom farm, April Mendez runs into the Bookmobile and discovers a lifetime friendship. Spinelli has created stories that touch both the heart and funny bone.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8These four stories feature different characters, styles, and moods, but each plot hinges upon a library card. In "Mongoose," the strongest story, two 12-year-old boys become partners in crime and rebellion. Weasel convinces Mongoose to shoplift and spray graffiti, but when Mongoose enters a library for the first time and is mesmerized by a book of unusual facts, the friendship begins to unravel. The point of view shifts from Mongoose to Weasel halfway through, neatly accentuating their different outlooks. "Brenda" is a television addict trying to survive the Great TV Turn-Off. The satire is obvious but the humor is still sharp and insightful. "Sonseray" is a troubled homeless teen, tortured by memories of his mother. His library card brings him to a preschool storytime and the storyteller is mysteriously compelled to read an adult romance novel to Sonseray: the same book the boy's mother repeatedly read to him as a child. When he checks it out, he regains some of the precious memories he has yearned for. "April Mendez" gets picked up by a bookmobile, where she meets an older girl who claims to be hijacking the vehicle. April befriends the girl and gives her a library card as a farewell present. In this story, the friendship and trust between the two develops without the card. Taking all four tales together, the device seems a bit forced and artificial, rather than a unifying element. Though not completely satisfying as a collection, Spinelli's unique characters and lively wit will interest many readers.Steven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library, OR
Kirkus Reviews
Spinelli (The Bathwater Gang Gets Down to Business, 1992, etc.) has spun four disparate stories linked through the inanimate object that appears in each—a library card.

As is true of the omniscient librarian who appears in some of the stories, the library card is supernatural. It imposes itself first on Mongoose, or Jamie, who with his 12-year-old friend shoplifts candy and makes mischief until he is pulled into an intoxicating world of learning. In "Brenda," broadly comic events occur when a TV-crazy teen has the plug pulled for a week. After such desperate moments as when she puts the rabbit ears of an absent television into her mouth, hoping to pick up signals, she begins to catch up on her life. In "Sonseray," a homeless drifter pays back his mean and lonely nephew by withholding details of the boy's dead mother, an unusual and powerful piece of cruelty. The last story shows two unlikely friends making a match. The realistic characters are funny and profound at times, and the prose occasionally invites readers to linger over a description. Spinelli is a shrewd storyteller, balancing lighter moments with provocative ones to meaningful effect.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780590386333
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Series: Apple Signature Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 155,410
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Jerry Spinelli

Jerry Spinelli won the Newbery Medal in 1991 for Maniac Magee, one of his more than 25 acclaimed books for young readers. He now lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Eileen Spinelli, who is also an author of children's books.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Great

    I read this book about 4 years ago and I barely remember the stories except for the one about Sonseray. I remember I really loved it... Hopefully I'll read it again soon.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 24, 2011

    really good book come check it out

    I think it is a really good book but i think it needs some more detail about the characters and some pitcuresin the book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2008

    It was Terrible

    If you want to fall asleep while reading a book then you should read this one. It was poorly written and the storyline was horrendous.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2007

    a reviewer

    it was outstanding i go all the way with my man jim, on this one because its great i would say BUY IT!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2006

    The Greatest Book of All!!!!!!!

    This was fabulous, although somewhat confusing. I had started reading this book in fourth grade. I thought it was great! It's so modern. Mongoose, Brenda, and all the other characters I dont really remember, are all modern like. From spray-painting to book-lover.(For Mongoose) It was great.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2006

    The Library Card

    This book is about four different kids. Four very different kids. Until one day a mysterious blue card appeared. No one notices anything at first. Until they find out that this card has power. The power to take them to the past, present and future. I liked this book because it had lots of descriptions. This book can describe the feelings and actions of the characters very well. Sometimes when I was reading this I got confused with all the descriptions. Over all I didn¿t like this book because it was almost like a run-on. Also when the story was confusing, it could make you go back and re-read it five times! In this book also it was talking about the main characters friends instead of the main character.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2005

    Very Good Book

    I read this Book withen 2 and 1/2 hours and thought it was a great book. I recomend it to everyone. PS My favorite character is Mongoose and Weasel whose real names are Jamie and Robert

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2004

    Ismeta Kolenovic, August, 2004

    Greattttttttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a great book because it is so intresting. This book is intresting because it's characters make it so exciting that you can't stop readin it. I really recomend this book to everyone in the world!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2003

    great book!!!!!!!

    i ususule read mysteries so this book was a big change for me.even though it didn't make much sense most of the time, it was a good book.it tells about four people and how a little card changes thier lives forever.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2002

    GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This book was really good. I liked it a lot. It was different but in a good way. I really liked the plot. With Jerry Spinneli's books, you have no idea what to expect. I didn't with this book or Wringer and Stargirl. But I liked all of them.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2000

    magic blue library card

    In this book that i read,(the library card,) four lucky kids will be gifted by a magic blue library card.In the first story a kid named Mongoose is best friends with a street thug.They both do bad thing like steal, and spray paint on buildings. Until one day when they were on top of a building Mongoose finds a blue library card.This card then changes his whole life, from a low life street thug to a smart studious school boy.In the next story,a girl named Brenda is involed in a school project called the great t.v. turn off.She cannot watch t.v. for a couple weeks.When she is in her room she finds the card and this will change the way she watches t.v. in the third story, A guy named sonseray doesnt have anywere to go because he is homeless.He wonders around until he finds the library.This place has air condition but he does much more than sit and cool off.Finally in the last story, April finds a bookmobile and finds a card that leads her to reading books in the mobile.I rated this book 2 stars because it really doesnt make any sense to find a card and go to the library and read, read ,read. Therefore i rated this book only 2 stars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2000

    It is a good book

    It was a great book. I reccomend this book to everyone!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2000

    A good book

    I suggest this book to everyone and I really enjoyed it and i hope you do to

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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