The Lonely Book

The Lonely Book

4.6 5
by Kate Bernheimer, Chris Sheban
     
 

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When a wonderful new book arrives at the library, at first it is loved by all, checked out constantly, and rarely spends a night on the library shelf. But over time it grows old and worn, and the children lose interest in its story. The book is sent to the library's basement where the other faded books live. How it eventually finds an honored place on a little girl

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Overview

When a wonderful new book arrives at the library, at first it is loved by all, checked out constantly, and rarely spends a night on the library shelf. But over time it grows old and worn, and the children lose interest in its story. The book is sent to the library's basement where the other faded books live. How it eventually finds an honored place on a little girl's bookshelf—and in her heart—makes for an unforgettable story sure to enchant anyone who has ever cherished a book. Kate Bernheimer and Chris Sheban have teamed up to create a picture book that promises to be loved every bit as much as the lonely book itself.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sheban’s (A Night on the Range) moody light and deep shadows haunt this tale of a library book that, like the Velveteen Rabbit, waits a long, long time for an “always-and-forever home.” The book’s cover bears “a picture of a girl in the forest under a toadstool,” and a girl named Alice falls in love with the book, loses it, then finds it again. The nameless book expresses emotion quietly but definitively: “If someone had looked closely at the lonely book’s cover, they would have seen that the girl under the toadstool had started to cry.” Bernheimer (The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum) carefully calibrates the story’s tension to draw readers in, switching between viewpoints; at the moment Alice realizes she’s forgotten to renew the cherished book she’s taken to the library, readers see the book waiting in the basement with other book sale books, “lonelier than it had ever been.” It’s a book about books, but more particularly a book about library culture; readers who make faithful weekly trips to their own libraries will be especially charmed. Ages 4–8. Agent: Maria Massie, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. Illustrator’s agent: Emily Inman. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
Subtle personification imbues the titular lonely book with longing for a child to read its story. Initially, the book is not lonely at all. Indeed, it's quite popular with library patrons, until it becomes tattered with use and is finally forgotten on the shelves among the other, newer titles. Then, a girl discovers the book, and even though it is missing its last page, she delights in the story and pictures about a little fairy living under a toadstool. She checks it out and enjoys reading it with her father and sharing it at school. Unfortunately, she forgets to renew it when she returns to the library and mistakenly leaves it on the floor. A parenthetical plot twist has a volunteer put the book in the library's book sale. In a happily-ever-after ending befitting the text's nostalgic tone, girl and book are reunited at the book sale and she takes it home. Throughout, Sheban's soft watercolor illustrations present a warm, cozy depiction of the child's communion with her cherished book. A lovely story in its own right, this picture book may make readers clamor for the story within the story about the little fairy living under her toadstool. (Picture book. 4-7)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The lengthy story begins with the arrival of a brand new book at the library. Many children want to read the book about a girl in the forest, even when it is no longer new. But after many years, it is shabby, the last page is missing, and despite it still being an enchanting story, it is rarely read. It becomes lonely, dropped in a dark corner. But a little girl named Alice finds it and wants to take it home. The book is happy, being read. Alice even takes it to school. But at a special library event, she forgets to renew it and leaves it there. By the time Alice gets back to the library, a volunteer has moved it to the basement. The book misses Alice and she misses the book. Fortunately, there is a happy ending. Liberal use of graphite produces a somewhat dreamy look as it dulls the watercolors and colored pencils. They combine to created realistic scenes of children and books. Alice is a spirited, book-loving youngster who seems to age even more than the nameless book, which is another character in the story. The inevitable reunion is pictured with sensitivity: the tearful girl hugging the rain-soaked book. In tribute to the power of the book, the final double page scene depicts the flying fairies and magic mushroom of Alice's imagined ending. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Pre S-Gr 2—This sweetly sentimental tale centers around a beloved library book ("It was green with a yellow ribbon inside to mark its pages"). As the years go by, it becomes tattered and loses a leaf, and fewer and fewer children check it out. A girl named Alice loves the book and takes it home, but when she forgets to renew it, it is relegated to storage in the library basement. At last it's time for the big book sale, and the book is reunited with the child and taken to its "always-and-forever home." Sheban's glowing watercolors perfectly capture the quietly magical hardwood-and-sunshine feel of a classic public library. This understated story will resonate with any child who knows that a book can become a dear friend.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375862267
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
04/24/2012
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
723,053
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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