Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The creators of The Money Tree paint a blithe yet affectionate portrait of a woman whose life centers on reading. Elizabeth Brown's obsession begins in childhood:
She didn't like to play with dolls,
She didn't like to skate.
She learned to read quite early
And at an incredible rate.
Stewart's nimble verse follows the bibliophile through the years as she fills her home with books. Finally,
when volumes climbed the parlor walls
And blocked the big front door,
She had to face the awful fact
She could not have one more.
Elizabeth then decides to share her wealth: she donates her collection to the town, turns her home into a library and - of course - continues to read voraciously. Attuned to the story's humor and period setting, Small's (George Washington's Cows) airy illustrations charm with historical touches and soothing pastel hues. Triple-ruled black borders and filigreed corners suggest a family album of old, while black-and-white spot art highlights details of a singular life. The book's dedication adds a poignant note "To the memory of the real Mary Elizabeth Brown, Librarian, Reader, Friend 1920-1992." All ages. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Judith Gravitz
Elizabeth Brown loves books-reading and collecting them, and ultimately sharing them. Small's whimsical drawings capture the superfluous volumes as they threaten to overtake Elizabeth Brown's house: "When volumes climbed the parlor walls/ And blocked the big front door,/ She had to face the awful fact/ She could not have one more." Small's pictures show the volumes creating overwhelming towers in all available space, comically creeping out of the neatly black-framed illustrations, and spilling over into the gutters of the book. Elizabeth Brown's solution to this book problem is to share her books with everyone in the truly delightful book.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4When Sarah Stewart's The Library was published (Farrar, 1995), librarians across the country looked at the endearing character of Elizabeth Brown and shouted "That's me!" Anyone who grows up with as intense a love of books as Elizabeth is bound to bond with libraries in one way or another. This sweet, simple story has now been issued in video and audio formats. The female narrator gives a warm, approachable reading to Stewart's gently humorous verse. The sprightly cello soundtrack suits the text perfectly. A few subtle sound effects enhance the story. In the video version, David Small's (Imogene's Antlers) softly shaded line drawings are panned to pick out the details which best describe the text. The whimsical, yet not altogether unrealistic story is a good choice for