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Here Lies the Librarian Paperback – September 6, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9–Richard Peck seems determined to create his own sub-genre: nostalgic fiction. Just like A Long Way from Chicago (Dial, 1998) and A Year Down Yonder (Dial, 2000), this title (Dial, 2006) is a keeper. Set in rural Indiana, circa 1914, tomboy PeeWee works with her adored older brother Jake. The automobile is replacing the horse and buggy and the young brother and sister run a fledgling gas station. When a tornado rips through town and tears up the defunct library, the town elders are shamed into re-opening it. Irene Ridpath and three of her sorority sisters fresh out of library school arrive and set the small town on its ear. Motherless PeeWee has never encountered women with such sophistication, and she begins to re-examine her own femininity. Jake is determined to win a rough and tumble automobile race, but when hes injured, PeeWee jumps in and finishes the event. Peck is a master at creating enchanting characters—even his dead librarian has personality. The setting is vivid—listeners can almost hear the sound of those first automobiles chugging up the road. Narrator Lara Everly brings the story to life with great charm. Listeners will enjoy this well-done audiobook that weaves in facts about rural life in the early 20th century, feminism, and automobile history.–Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. Stubborn, fearless, and loyal, 14-year-old Peewee (Eleanor) McGrath, who dresses like a boy, lives with her brother, Jake, in Indiana, "way out in the weeds." Together, they run a struggling garage, where Jake is building a racecar. It's 1914, and the electric self-starter has made automobiles more accessible to women. One day, four female drivers, library students all, arrive in a Stoddard-Dayton in need of repair; later, they return to reopen the town library. With these young women as role models, Peewee comes to realize that being female and being independent aren't mutually exclusive. Peck's one-liners, colorful physical comedy, and country dialect, prominent in most of his recent novels, are great as usual. And his characters, if not fully developed, are wonderfully quirky. Yet even with some exciting scenes of old-time dirt-track racing, the pace lags, and the story is choppy. Young fans of Danica Patrick, today's "Queen of the Road," may want to read this, but it will probably be librarians who'll have the most fun. Peck recounts an incident in an endnote in which one of the characters appears at the Indianapolis 500 with Janet Guthrie; unfortunately, there's not enough explanation to know whether or not it's all true. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 0780 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (September 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545046610
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545046619
  • ASIN: 0142409081
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #842,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Do you ever get the impression that an author is trying just a little too hard to get the attention of their librarian readers? I don't think this happens much in the world of adult literature, but when it comes to kiddie lit, writers sometimes verge on the shameless. Now I was willing to look past Kimberly Willis Holt's paean to the glory of librarians everywhere in "Part of Me", and the non-fiction true tale of librarian heroism, "Dear Miss Breed" by Joanne Oppenheim could certainly slip by on my watch. But recently I've been doubling back and rereading some of the children's books that came out in early 2006. Of those books, one that I missed early on in the game was Richard Peck's, "Here Lies the Librarian", courtesy of Dial Books. Mr. Peck has written a wham-bam, rock `em, sock `em tale of hard core drag racing librarianship. Though still better (as anyone who reads his books regularly will tell you) than 92% of the schlock printed yearly, Peck's latest venture carries with it the faintest odor of familiarity. Basically, if you perused and enjoyed his previous book, "The Teacher's Funeral", then there's probably little reason to go on to this title as well unless you like to regularly douse yourself in Peck's pleasant wordplay.

For quite a while now it's just been Peewee and Jake, Jake and Peewee. The two siblings have been inseparable since the death of their parents and together they've managed to cobble a living for themselves out of a small automobile body shop. The year is 1914 and in a small town in Indiana Peewee and Jake are anxious for the new paved road to pass their miniscule business venture. While they wait, Jake has been working like a madman to create his very own automobile so as to enter it in one of the county's drag races.
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Format: Hardcover
Richard Peck has again done his usual fine job of depicting what life was like for children in another era. The story takes a variety of twists and turns that keep even adult readers amused and entertained. As a librarian who is interested in how librarians have been, and are, portrayed in children's literature, I found this a worthy addition to the genre. At the time in the early 20th century that Here Lies the Librarian is set, librarianship had become a female profession but was showing signs of undergoing dramatic changes. Peck's former librarian Electra Deitz, who has died shortly before the story opens, was definitely of the old-fashion strict and forbidding kind. His new young female library school graduates are definitely of a different persuasion not only in terms of making the public library accessible and welcoming to users of all ages but also in their every day life. Kids and librarians should enjoy Peck's latest addition to his string of books that are fun to read.
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Format: Paperback
As a lover of historical fiction I automatically picked this book up, but the book does not contain much information on the time period, it mostly provides information on cars! (Perhaps Richard Peck should be a mechanic?) "Here Lies The Librarian" is an exceptional book. The author gives great descriptions and writes outstanding dialouge, yet it seems like your not quite there. It's like reading the newspaper and you hear about a robbery or a car crash. You don't care too much and you don't get too many details. There are some authors that can write about one second for several pages, yet this author treats the climax like any other part of the book. I will give it some praise in saying the begginning is fun and entertaining and the characterization is okay; although it would be nicer if the author gave better descriptions of the character's feelings, and a bit less on looks. I hate giving bad reviews, so I will say for anyone who is interested in cars; especially the first models, this is an informative story. Overrall it just seems like the author wasn't trying hard enough. I will still reccomend this novel for car lovers, and people who enjoy reading the newspaper or watching the news.
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Format: Hardcover
It's 1914 in Hendricks County, Indiana, and Jake and PeeWee McGrath run a garage for those newfangled automobiles. PeeWee, aka Eleanor, doesn't plan to go to high school. She will stay with her older brother and help run the garage, only her brother is a better mechanic. Then four sorority sisters from Butler University in Indianapolis arrive and plan to reopen the town library. Excitement abounds with a rival garage attempting to destroy the McGrath's business and an automobile race that makes NASCAR look like a Sunday drive. If you enjoyed Peck's The Teacher's Funeral, you will love this one. The relationship between Jake and Eleanor is strong and loving. This is a nostalgic and humorous look at the early 20th century.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book for reading aloud to elementary through high school kids (yes, my high schooler still loves a good bed time story!) I would recommend all of his books. Great lessons in history and great laughs at the same time.
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Format: Paperback
When I was ten or so, my elementary school library had what it called the Birthday Book Program. Whenever you had a birthday, you were allowed to select a book from a stack of newcomers and have your name and birthday put on a sticker in the front cover. And you were the first to get to check it out. Book-loving ten-year-old me pounced on “Here Lies the Librarian” when it was my turn, but somehow, I never got around to reading it. I think I might have started it, but it must have been enough of a bore that I chose not to finish it. Recently I decided to give it another chance. I wish I could say I loved it this time around, and really, parts of it weren’t so bad. But my problem was this: I didn’t know what I was supposed to take away from this book.

Here’s what I did manage to pick up of the plot: the main character, Peewee, and her brother, Jake, run the 1914 version of a mechanic’s shop in small-town Indiana. Peewee and Jake don’t have many possessions to speak of – or family, for that matter – and neither does the town. It doesn’t even have a library; the old librarian died years ago and no one stepped in to take her place. At least, not until Irene Ridpath and her sorority sisters ride into town. All four of them have begun courses in Library Science at Butler University, and all four are interested in filling the position of librarian. (Incidentally, all four also have very wealthy fathers.) The four women, especially Irene, help Peewee realize the kind of person she wants to be – but she has to help Jake become the person he knows he can be first.

At least, that’s the kind of summary I’d expect to see on this book jacket. It took me a good few days of pondering to decide on that, and I’m still not even sure it’s right.
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