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Alcatraz #1: Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians Hardcover – October 1, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Realistic fiction for tweens
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Editorial Reviews

From AudioFile

Without its excellent narrator, ALCATRAZ would be farfetched, even ludicrous. Thanks to Charlie McWade, however, the improbable autobiography of Alcatraz Smedry is a smart-aleck fantasy that listeners will relish. SmedryÕs special gift, breaking things, helps him battle the evil librarians who hold society captive. The unique voices McWade creates for each character keep the dialogue crisp, as do his superior timing and delivery. In particular, the unreliable AlcatrazÕs sarcastic asides arrive with snort-out-loud humor. When the story gets crazy, McWade pulls listeners back in with a witty crack that will have them searching for missing continents, British dinosaurs, and librarian conspiracies. This is an original offering for the adventure-seeking. C.A. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.

About the Author

Brandon Sanderson is the author of the Mistborn Trilogy and Elantris, which Orson Scott Card called "the finest novel of fantasy to be written in many years." Alcatraz Smedry Versus the Evil Librarians is Brandon's first book for kids. He writes and plays with swords in Provo, Utah.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Series: Alcatraz (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780439925501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439925501
  • ASIN: 0439925509
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Christopher on September 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
First off, I should say that in my mid twenties I am a little older than the target "reading level" of this book. However, that didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying every word of it. I am a big fan of Brandon Sanderson, and am glad to see that his writing skill can equally please readers of all ages.

Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians is the most cleverly written book I have ever had the pleasure of reading. The precisely written narration is what I enjoyed the most. Each chapter, Alcatraz (the narrator) breaks away from the story, to talk to the reader from the voice of the author. These little sections are filled with really clever tidbits that on many occasions had me laughing out loud.

The story itself is entertaining as well. True to Sanderson's form, some of the characters have a special magical "talent" that they use in very creative ways. These talents are attributes that we might not normally see as an advantage, such as always arriving late, and tripping and falling in very dramatic ways. Sanderson also does a great job sheding new light on the world we live in by comparing it to a more advanced society where light bulbs are inferior to open flames (since lights can't set things on fire) and stairs are more advanced than elevators (because you get a work out climbing them).

This is a book that I think any kid will love, with the parents enjoying it equally as much.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alcatraz at first glance appears to be your typical teen-age boy, even if he's named after a world-famous prison. Being passed around the foster-care system hasn't helped his attitude much, though, and it seems that he brings it on himself with his terrible clutziness.

On his thirteenth birthday he gets a strange--and very old--package in the mail from his father (where is he? is he dead? is he alive? we don't know?) claiming that it contains Alcatraz's inheritance: a bag of sand. Mystified and sad, he decides to make himself some comfort food but accidentally catches the kitchen drapes on fire.

Then everything hits the fan: the sand is stolen, a man claiming to be his grandfather shows up, his foster mother wants to kick him out of the house, and a man with a gun threatens his life. Not a great way to spend a birthday, if you ask me.

But, oh, what hilarity ensues. What's great about Sanderson's stuff is that it's beyond the typical fantasy-epic-journey type story like you'd find in Paolini or MacHale. Almost the entire story takes place at the downtown library, where things aren't always what they seem. And nothing is off-limits: Sanderson makes fun of everything and it's just plain funny. Exceedingly silly, but funny for kids and grown-ups.

The characters are fun, and even the antagonists turn out to be complex people. Alcatraz in particular is an interesting character who struggles with his accident-prone nature, until he learns it's a 'Talent' (his grandfather's Talent is arriving late to things...it's so funny, but it works!). He's convinced he's a bad kid, but it gets harder for us to believe it as the story progresses, and even he seems to change his mind a little near the end.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Below is an excerpt of my full review of the first four books in the Alcatraz series:

This review goes in line with that of the Alcatraz series, more specifically the attitude of a Smedry. You see, they are trouble makers, and are prone to getting themselves into life threatening situations. They have an uncharacteristic attitude when dealing with any situation. The more danger, the more excited they are. Through thick and thin, Smedry's are rarely to be found with a sour mood. They are bubbly, charismatic, bold, audacious, and have a knack for getting themselves into trouble. Wait, I said that did I not? Gack! You see, I imitating a number of characters found in this book. Granpa Smedry, Alcatraz, talking dinosaurs. Yes, you read correctly, talking dinosaurs with a British accent, and as we know, those Brits are refined, calm, and well-mannered; dinosaurs are no exception! They really know how to cause trouble for Librarians, like eating the entire C section of the Science Fiction shelf and moving six books out of their proper places. Okay, so maybe they are useless as Bastille said... The only thing worse than talking dinosaurs are talking rocks, but I tell you, the dinosaurs are a treat! To round off this paragraph, I leave you this quote from Grandpa Smedry if you think I am making any of this up:

I am a Smedry, and we do ridiculous, unexpected, eccentric things like this all the time.

The Alcatraz series is a tremendously fun read. My friend that recommended Mistorn and Elantris did not bother giving these books a shot because of their young adult emphasis, despite being a lover of Sanderson's work. Aspiring Asimovs, what a horrible reason! Lots of fun, many laugh out loud moments, tons of humor and wit, with a great story to boot!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Whoever rated this book 1 star is lying to you. Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians is an amazing book, and whoever tells you otherwise is a librarian or an idiot. This book has all of the components of a good plot, and is funny and engaging. Keep reading the other books too, it gets even better! Overall, the characters have depth, the story is engaging, and Alcatraz should be given all the book awards in the world. Rutabaga. oh, by the way, this is heathers son.
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