From School Library Journal
Gr 1-3–When RoseAleta Laurell arrived at the Dr. Eugene Clark Library in Lockhart, TX, she found a beautiful old building rich in history but short on patrons, particularly children. Attendance improved as she updated the collection, pushed for computers, and addressed the needs of the Spanish-speaking community, but she needed substantial funding if she was going to provide an attractive and appropriate children's section. What does any dedicated librarian do in such a situation? RoseAleta elected to pack a tent and supplies and be hoisted 50 feet up to the library's roof, and to remain there until the town raised enough money for the children. She remained on the roof for one week, braving severe weather at times. When she descended, the town had raised almost $40,000, twice her original goal. King's writing is clear and often witty, and she does a credible job of capturing Laurell's determined and forthright personality, as well as the drama and excitement of this unusual approach to fund-raising. Gilpin's hand-drawn, vibrantly colored cartoon illustrations enliven the story, particularly the spread that depicts the woman being hoisted to dizzying heights. Librarians will enjoy sharing this tribute to one of their own, but so will anyone wanting an inspirational tale of a committed and ingenious professional.Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
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This is the true story of how librarian RoseAleta Laurell brought the oldest public library in Texas into the twenty-first century. To raise money for a children’s section, she stationed herself on the roof of the library, declaring that she would stay there until enough money was collected. Vibrant cartoon-style illustrations depict RoseAleta’s weeklong vigil on the roof of the stately domed building. Caution: dramatic perspectives depicting the 50-foot drop from the roof are not for acrophobes. An author’s note sets the stage for the telling of this story, but additional details would have been helpful, such as whether RoseAleta’s tent really blew off the roof (as is depicted) and how she managed bathroom issues. Nevertheless, this will work well with groups, whether they are children, legislators, or future librarians. Pair with other works about notable librarians, such as The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq, by Jeanette Winter (2005), or The Storyteller’s Candle, by Lucia Gonzalez (2008). Grades K-3. --Randall Enos