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The Lost Library (2023)

par Rebecca Stead

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15216177,343 (4.04)17
When a mysterious Little Free Library guarded by a large orange cat appears overnight, eleven-year-old Evan plucks two weathered books from its shelves, never suspecting that his life is about to change.
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Affichage de 1-5 de 16 (suivant | tout afficher)
it is a beautifully developed story which hosts a profoundly deep message for any age to read and enjoy. At first, I must admit that I was a little unsure on how I was going to like it, but as the story progressed, I found myself losing track of time and becoming engrossed within the three main characters from which the story line is told. Like a narrator of a theatrical performance, Al helps to fill in the details as her own life’s story begins to take on a twist you may or may not see coming, as a little boy unknowingly unearths a major secret.

During the last week of attending elementary school, a free little library pops up overnight with an old orange cat to guard the books within the homemade structure. Evan pulls the two smallest books from the shelf and later realizes something peculiar about them. One of them has his dad’s name written on the circulation card from when the old library burned down years before he was born. Not only that, but all the cards say they were due the night of the fatal fire.

While Evan and his best friend, Rafe, begin their investigation into the mysterious circumstances surrounding the tragic event, the town’s reception to the new little library is better than Al had expected. Much to the satisfaction of Mortimer, the orange cat, more books are appearing by the day with even more visitors taking and leaving a book under his careful watch. But when Al, Mortimer, and Evan cross paths, their journey will change them forever. Who was Ms. Scoggin and Mr. Brock? Why do the mice call Mortimer “Six-Toed Grouch?” What does Al stand for? Did a famous writer used to live in Evan’s hometown? And most importantly…who started the fire twenty years ago?

Personally, I would consider this work alongside that of Natalie Babbitt, one of my favorite writers and one who was skilled at weaving fun tales in with deeper meaning. From me, that is one of the highest compliments I can bestow upon a book. I hope that you will take a chance to help Evan figure out How to Write a Mystery Novel, and perhaps meet a few ghosts while you’re at it. ( )
  SarahJI | Feb 16, 2024 |
Summary
Martinville has a mystery to solve… the library burned down, but no one wants to talk about it. Then one day Evan stumbles across a little library on the town green. It is being guarded by a cat(with many names). All the books inside came from the library that burned down, but how? Will Evan be able to find out the true story behind the library?

Review
This was a very cute book for middle grade readers. It has a little of everything for everyone. Whether you like ghosts, mice, cats, books, writing, or mysteries this book is for you! It had very short chapters and a moving plot line which would make it good for developing readers or a read aloud. I am currently using it as a read aloud for my 5th graders. My town is also doing a program with the book.

My favorite part of the book was the way you would learn pieces about the characters as the story progressed. For example, the cat had many names and its personality and truth was revealed across the story.

The book also showed the importance of little free libraries. It shows how powerful access to texts can be for learners and readers. If a town or community can’t have a library it is important to have some type of central space for readers to find books, and exchange books. ( )
  Booksonthehammock | Feb 11, 2024 |
Cute and cozy mystery. Love to homage to libraries and librarians! ( )
  AnnesLibrary | Jan 28, 2024 |
It's taken me several days to sort out my thoughts for a review. Will the older elementary-grade audience like it? How about adults: does our perspective influence how we like the way the story unwinds? And therein lay my decision to rate the book 3½ stars instead of the 4, which I was leaning towards. In the beginning, the abrupt chapter changes between story participants was off-putting, so would kids persevere? Would the book be abandoned or would curiosity prevail?

I enjoyed the story and felt engaged with Evan and Rafe. A great characterization there. I also could understand Evan's Dad (Edward) being so reluctant to openly discuss the issues around the old library burning down. However, this was a secret that created some unnecessarily false tension in the book. This conflicted aspect detracted from the burnt library mystery, central to the plot. I'm uncertain whether the younger readership would process this the same way, as I did, but does introduce an irrelevant negative flaw to the story as a whole.

Otherwise, the novel is a heart-warming illustration of community spirit, the value and joy in books and reading, kid-friendships, the progression from elementary to middle school grades, and best of all, kid-adventures in exploring unknown territory. The ghostly aspect is a great fun-tingle and the cat-talk with mice an effective device to introduce the ambience around mice and their part of the story. I still have no idea how engaged kids will be with the story and whether they'll read far enough to be sucked into the mystical world presented here. ( )
1 voter SandyAMcPherson | Nov 28, 2023 |
A Little Free Library appears one morning on the town green, full of books from the public library that burned down years ago. Evan is curious, especially since, when he checks the borrowing slips in the books, he finds that his dad checked out many of them. When he asks his dad about the books, he doesn't get a proper answer. Over the next few days, Evan finds himself more and more intrigued by the mystery of the new little library, and the bigger mystery of the fire that consumed the old one.

That summary covers the main plot of the book, but there are several other characters (a cat and a few ghosts) that add dimension to the story. I wanted to like this book more than I did, but there were just too many plot holes for me to fall down, and the general tone of the book was, to my ear, a bit twee. The ending was over the top and left me shaking my head. Perhaps the intended readership will enjoy it more than I did, but I can't see myself recommending it to them. ( )
  foggidawn | Nov 6, 2023 |
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When a mysterious Little Free Library guarded by a large orange cat appears overnight, eleven-year-old Evan plucks two weathered books from its shelves, never suspecting that his life is about to change.

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