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Here Lies the Librarian

Here Lies the Librarian

3.8 11
by Richard Peck, Lara Everly (Read by)

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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,


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.
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
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
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. (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

Product Details

Listening Library, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Age Range:
10 - 14 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

Meet the Author

"I spent the first eighteen years of my life in Decatur, Illinois, a middle-American town in a time when teenagers were considered guilty until proven innocent, which is fair enough. My mother read to me before I could read to myself, and so I dreamed from the start of being a writer in NewYork. But Decatur returned to haunt me, becoming the "Bluff City" of my four novels starring Alexander Armsworth and Blossom Culp. When I was young, we were never more than five minutes from the nearest adult, and that solved most of the problems I write about for a latergeneration living nearer the edge. The freedoms and choices prematurely imposed upon young people today have created an entire literature for them. But then novels are never about peopleliving easy lives through tranquil times; novels are the biographies of survivors.

"I went to college in Indiana and then England, and I was a soldier in Germany — a chaplain's assistant in Stuttgart — ghost-writing sermons and hearing more confessions than the clergy. In Decatur we'd been brought up to make a living and not to take chances, and so I became an English teacher, thinking this was as close to the written word as I'd be allowed to come. And it was teaching that made a writer out of me. I found my future readers right there in the roll book.After all, a novel is about the individual within the group, and that's how I saw young people every day, as their parents never do. In all my novels, you have to declare your independence from your peers before you can take that first real step toward yourself. As a teacher, I'd noticedthat nobody ever grows up in a group.

"I wrote my first line of fiction on May 24th, 1971 — after seventh period. I'd quit my teaching job that day, liberated at last from my tenure and hospitalization. At first, I wrote with my own students in mind. Shortly, I noticed that while I was growing older every minute at the typewriter,my readers remained mysteriously the same age. For inspiration, I now travel about sixty thousand miles a year, on the trail of the young. Now, I never start a novel until some young reader, somewhere, gives me the necessary nudge..

"In an age when hardly more than half my readers live in the same homes as their fathers, I was moved to write Father Figure. In it a teenaged boy who has played the father-figurerole to his little brother is threatened when they are both reunited with the father they hardly know. It's anovel like so many of our novels that moves from anger to hope in situations to convince young readers that novels can be about them...

"I wrote Are You in the House Alone? when I learned that the typical victim of our fastest growing, least-reported crime, rape, is a teenager — one of my own readers, perhaps. It's not a novel to tell young readers what rape is. They already know that. It's meant to portray a character who must become something more than a victim in our judicial system that defers to thecriminal...

"Two of my latest attempts to keep pace with the young are a comedy called Lost in Cyberspace and its sequel, The Great Interactive Dream Machine. Like a lot of adults, I noticed that twelve year olds are already far more computer-literate than I will ever be. As a writer, I could create a funny story on the subject, but I expect young readers will be moreattracted to it because it is also a story about two friends having adventures together. There's a touch of time travel in it, too, cybernetically speaking, for those readers who liked sharing Blossom Culp's exploits. And the setting is New York, that magic place I dreamed of when I wasyoung in Decatur, Illinois..."

More About Richard Peck

Richard Peck has written over twenty novels, and in the process has become one of America's most highly respected writers for young adults. A versatile writer, he is beloved by middle gradersas well as young adults for his mysteries and coming-of-age novels. He now lives in New York City. In addition to writing, he spends a great deal of time traveling around the country attending speaking engagements at conferences, schools and libraries...

Mr. Peck has won a number of major awards for the body of his work, including the Margaret A. Edwards Award from School Library Journal, the National Council of Teachers ofEnglish/ALAN Award, and the 1991 Medallion from the University of Southern Mississippi. Virtually everypublication and association in the field of children s literature has recommended his books, including Mystery Writers of America which twice gave him their Edgar Allan Poe Award.Dial Books for Young Readers is honored to welcome Richard Peck to its list with Lost in Cyberspace and its sequel The Great Interactive Dream Machine...

Twenty Minutes a Day
by Richard Peck
Read to your children
Twenty minutes a day;
You have the time,
And so do they.
Read while the laundry is in the machine;
Read while the dinner cooks;
Tuck a child in the crook of your arm
And reach for the library books.
Hide the remote,
Let the computer games cool,
For one day your children will be off to school;
Remedial? Gifted? You have the choice;
Let them hear their first tales
In the sound of your voice.
Read in the morning;
Read over noon;
Read by the light of
Goodnight Moon.
Turn the pages together,
Sitting close as you'll fit,
Till a small voice beside you says,
"Hey, don't quit."

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

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Here Lies the Librarian 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
JennGrrl More than 1 year ago
Peck has crafted a really fun story about a brother and sister growing up without parents, living the daily rural life, trying to make a car repair business out of nothing. There's crazy neighbors who keep an eye on the kids. There are crazy town folk, who are constantly doing mean things to the kids, trying to sabotage their repair business, and then there are the new girls in town. You'll follow the brother and sister as they both grow up and learn to be the man and woman they were always meant to be. I really enjoyed this story, and have passed it along to my teenage son. I can't wait to see his reaction when he reads about a little girl who is a great car mechanic. The old adage holds true, I suppose, that you can't judge a book by its cover.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the book Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck and I would give it a rating of 4 stars. This book deserves 4 stars because of its humorous dialogue and descriptions. It tells a fun story of a town after the results of a tornado. It includes the lives of Eleanor also known as PeeWee and Jake her big brother who she looks up to dearly. Eleanor is a red head who always has her hair up in a cap, which causes people to mistake her for a boy. Her brother claims that High School will do her some good. But when Eleanor hears that High School doesn¿t include car mechanics but instead she will have to take Home Economics and Cookery she claims that she ¿ain¿t going.¿ After a librarian position is open it attracts the attention of three sorority sisters who apply for the job. It is inspiring to read how an old run down library can change the life of a girl completely. The story is in a time era of when the automobile was debuting. Richard Peck does a great job of describing Jake¿s love of cars and his dream of fame. Jake is also a car mechanic who gets lots of help from his little sister. Here Lies the Librarian shows the steps Jake takes to get closer to his dream. I am an eighth grader in North Carolina and would also recommend the books, The Giver and The City of Ember.
CarolinaMommy More than 1 year ago
Boring!  No plot - certainly nothing intriguing.  I had to sit with my daughter as she read it for school and i fell asleep.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love it!!;)) Main reason: a GIRL proves herself to be just as good(if not better) than the guys!!!;)
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I recently read the book 'Here Lies The Librarian' by Richard Peck and found it okay so I gave it three stars. I gave it three stars because it was a little boring but it had good detail about each of the scenes in the book. It is basically a book about two brothers named Peewee and Jake. Peewee was just the average little boy who looked up to his older brother who by the way wanted to be an auto mechanic. Until one day when Irene Ridpath the librarian came to town. She tried to help Peewee and changed his life forever. But it starts out with a tornado in the town and everybody is rushing to get into their basements and grabbing whatever they can before it comes. It just seemed really boring but Richard Peck did have lots of good descriptive details about the scene. But the ending I didn't like that much because it kind of just dropped off when it could have kept going. It ended with a race in Indiana at the Indianapolis 500 and just started telling about who won the race and then just ended and I believe he could have kept going.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whutzit abiur?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just stsrted it and sofar it is good