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The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand Paperback – March 3, 2015
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Dorrie and Marcus literally drop into a strange new world when they crash through the floor of their otherwise-average New Jersey library and into a library that transcends space and time. The siblings discover they have landed in Petrarch's Library, a web of libraries from different places and times, with doorways to ancient Greece and modern-day Passaic. Here "lybrarians" train to become agents, or "ninja librarians" as Marcus calls them, who go on missions to rescue imperiled writers, including Socrates. Dorrie and her brother use their temporary stay in Petrarch's Library to become apprentices, learning swordplay from Cyrano de Bergerac and the deceptive arts from Casanova. As the pair attempt to return an accidentally stolen document to the archives, they uncover other secrets and mysteries. The lead-up to the kids' discovery of Petrarch's Library is a little slow and the foreshadowing is a bit heavy-handed, but once in the Library, the melding of fantasy, adventure, and history is enlightening. Dorrie is a smart, observant, wannabe sword fighter, while Marcus is the typical teenage brother: a mix of hormones and sarcasm, tempered by a genuine concern for his younger sister. For the most part, the numerous supporting characters have distinct personalities and their special talents and knowledge seem natural. The Library is a vivid, well-drawn world, which helps to compensate for weaker aspects of the plot. Readers who miss the collegial, magical setting of Hogwarts will enjoy exploring Petrarch's Library.—Marian McLeod, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CT --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Dorrie wants so badly to be a hero, to fight with her sword and triumph over evil. Sadly, she’s stuck fencing local bullies like Tiffany Tolliver, the middle-school mean girl, to protect the honor of her favorite librarian and swordplay teacher, Mr. Kornberger. Things get terribly interesting when she and her Star Wars–loving older brother, Marcus, fall into Petrarch’s library, a magical portal to libraries throughout time and space and home to a secret society called the Lybrariad. These heroic lybrarians are trained to conjure objects out of thin air by reading descriptions from books and to rescue any outspoken individual from censorship or worse (while still shushing, of course). Delightfully funny from the first page, where Dorrie laments having never been bitten by anything more bloodthirsty than her little sister, this middle-grade time-travel adventure is surprisingly full of fun and action (and a madcap mongoose). Downey’s hilarious debut is perfect for any library-loving reader as well as those who never considered librarians to be cool. Grades 4-6. --Stacey Comfort --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Like a lot of libraries, Petrarch’s Library has cozy chairs and fireplaces, but don’t get too comfy because any minute you might find yourself dodging an extinct, snorting beast, facing off against a famous sword-wielding hero, sailing an ocean, or joining a toga party.
Into this world comes the 10-year-old aspiring fencer, Dorrie, and her funny, side-kick, older brother, Marcus. The pair take a wrong turn in their hometown library and fall through a secret portal, one of many that connects real libraries to this protective dimension. A society of secret librarians, plucked from different places and times, guards the repository. Marcus dubs them Ninja librarians. (Star Wars obsessed, he also claims he and Dorrie are Mr. Solo and Chewbacca.)
And so begins an adventure for the pair as they find themselves in a world that is under attack by bad guys who would love to control so much knowledge.
“The Ninja Librarians” is above all else an old-fashion good read for kids, full of page-turning adventure, humor, and characters you feel you know. But Downey’s extraordinary writing is multi-layered, with allusions that will make adults smile. (Just read the first two sentences to see what I mean.) Without being preachy, the story raises questions about freedom-of-speech and access to information that are timely, and I suspect will prompt librarians, teachers and children’s book groups to use “Ninja Librarians” as a tool to discuss some of these big issues.
One thing I know for sure. I will never walk into a library (especially with a late book) and view librarians in the same way. As one character’s put it: “A properly trained librarian is one of the most fearless and fearsome beings in the world.”
Five stars for this book. It’s going to be remembered. – Elisa Wood
Most recent customer reviews
By Jen Swann Downey
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2014.
P. O.Read more