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Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile
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Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile

3.5 2
by Gloria Houston

When Dorothy was a young girl, she loved books, and she loved people, so she decided that she would become a librarian.

Dorothy's dearest wish is to be a librarian in a fine brick library just like the one she visited when she was small. But her new home in North Carolina has valleys and streams but no libraries, so Miss Dorothy and her neighbors decide to start


When Dorothy was a young girl, she loved books, and she loved people, so she decided that she would become a librarian.

Dorothy's dearest wish is to be a librarian in a fine brick library just like the one she visited when she was small. But her new home in North Carolina has valleys and streams but no libraries, so Miss Dorothy and her neighbors decide to start a bookmobile. Instead of people coming to a fine brick library, Miss Dorothy can now bring the books to them—at school, on the farm, even once in the middle of a river!

Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile is an inspiring story about the love of books, the power of perseverance, and how a librarian can change people's lives.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The team that introduced the inspiring rural North Carolina teacher in My Great-Aunt Arizona revisits the Blue Ridge Mountains for this tale that pays tribute to a beloved and dedicated librarian from Houston's childhood. Growing up in Massachusetts, Dorothy always wanted to be a librarian and to work in "a fine brick library just like the one in the center of the square in her hometown." But love and marriage derail her grand plan, landing her on a farm in North Carolina and in a community with no library at all. The can-do spirit of her neighbors and Miss Dorothy's passion for sharing books soon blossom into a wildly popular bookmobile operation, and later a small free-standing library. Houston writes with a knowing, warm tone about a woman who touched the lives of many and cherished the ripple effect of her actions. Lamb's bucolic pencil-and-watercolor scenes feel like a family scrapbook of rural mid–20th century life, right down to the design of the hefty but reliable green bookmobile. Ages 6–9. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Leona Illig
This is the true story of a woman named Dorothy Thomas, whose gravesite is unknown today, but whose legacy lives on in the children and adults she served throughout her life. "Miss Dorothy," as she was known, was raised in Massachusetts, educated at Radcliffe College, and trained to become a librarian. After her marriage, however, she found herself living with her husband in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, without a job, and in a region bereft of libraries. She began a book campaign modestly: first, by sharing her own books with her neighbors, and then by collecting her friends' books and storing them in a central repository in her basement. Her community worked hard to raise funds for a bookmobile, and soon Miss Dorothy was driving the vehicle and delivering books to everyone, to people who worked on remote farms, in factories, and in towns, and in all kinds of weather. Eventually, enough money was collected to establish a real mortar-and-bricks library, with Miss Dorothy as its head. The story of Miss Dorothy's life is written with feeling but without sentimentality. The illustrations are lovely and realistic. Unlike many picture books with flat drawings, this artist has taken the time to create pictures with perspective. In an age and era in which we hear too little about real heroes, not to mention female ones, the story of Dorothy Thomas is both inspiring and entertaining. Reviewer: Leona Illig
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Based on the librarian from the author's childhood, the story follows one woman's dedication to bringing reading material to people in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Starting with hauling books up from her basement to later driving around in the town's green bookmobile, Miss Dorothy eventually inspires the town to purchase a building for a library of their very own. Beautiful, soft landscapes of the rugged terrain throughout the seasons serve as a backdrop for this charming story of a librarian on the go. While Miss Dorothy's dreams of a stately brick building as a true library seems to undermine the worth of the bookmobile a bit, the overall effect is that of nostalgia and a sweet homage to a special woman. Most adult readers have a memory of a Miss Dorothy in their lives, be it a teacher, neighbor, or librarian, and most children will enjoy this look back in time. A lovely addition to any collection.—Sarah Townsend, Norfolk Public Library, VA

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)
AD1090L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Gloria Houston is the author of numerous books for children, including My Great-Aunt Arizona, illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb, which was a Smithsonian Treasure, a Family Channel's Best Book, an IRA Teachers' and Children's Choices book, and an NCTE Best Book, among other honors. She also wrote The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, illustrated by Barbara Cooney, which was an annual Publishers Weekly Bestseller and was named a Best Book of the Decade by the American Library Association. She currently lives in North Carolina.

Susan Condie Lamb has illustrated several other picture books for children, including the beloved My Great-Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston. Now writing and illustrating her own projects, Susan lives in Connecticut.

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Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Kurtis_Kat More than 1 year ago
Miss Dorothy is a beautifully illustrated, beautifully written picture book for book lovers of any age. I am a school librarian and bought this book to do as a 'read-aloud' to my third graders. I wasn't sure how it would go over. Obviously, I loved this book about a librarian who made house calls in rural America, but to my surprise, my third graders enjoyed it as much as I did. This is the kind of book that changes the bad reputation nonfiction has with school children. Makes a good pairing with Biblioburro, another true story about a book mobile- really a book mule- from Columbia.
espkay More than 1 year ago
I read Gloria Houston's new book 'Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile'. I liked it. Very well written. It's inspiring. Heartwarming book and touches the heart of its readers. Dorothy opened and brought the world to the doors of book loving people of beautiful little town at the foot of Mount Mitchell, NC. Every time Dorothy took her 'library' at the doors of the readers she brought joy, happiness and engendered love of books in the lives of her patrons. Miss Dorothy did great work which can not be measured and expressed adequately in words. Gloria Houston's book is a glowing tribute to Miss Dorothy and Bookmobile. Illustrations by Susan Condie Lamb has greatly added beauty and warmth to the book. Her illustrations makes you feel that you are there in that beautiful small town. I read this book to my six year old grand daughter. She liked it much and she took the book to her mother asking her to read it again! I highly recommend this book to book loving readers of all ages.