Reviews for Here Lies the Librarian
Booklist Reviews 2006 March #1
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. ((Reviewed March 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Fall
Four young ladies studying library science decide to restore a tiny town's public library, deserted since the librarian "expired," and end up making a big difference in the lives of young Peewee and her brother Jake. Carefully researched period details convincingly ground the novel without overwhelming the plot or characters, while an auto race provides a big, exciting climax. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2006 #3
A tornado whirls through their 1914 Indiana town, but young Peewee and her big brother Jake survive intact, and so does their garage, which does a pretty good business fixing flat tires punctured by horseshoe nails in the dirt road. When a quartet of well-to-do young ladies studying library science visit the tiny town to view the tornado damage, they decide to restore the public library, deserted since the librarian "expired," and end up making a big difference in the lives of Peewee and Jake. Peck retains his knack for using wry humor to create an authentic voice in a first-person account (this time it's Peewee's), and the gentility of the librarians mixes amusingly with their practical determination. Carefully researched period details convincingly ground the novel without overwhelming the plot or characters, while an auto race provides a big, exciting climax complete with bad guys, crashes, and a rousing victory. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2006 March #1
"Who'd want to be in the pit crew when you could be in the race?" asks Irene Ridpath, the new librarian at14-year-old Eleanor McGrath's school. It's 1914 in the unincorporated Hazelrigg Settlement in Hendricks County, Ind., and feisty Irene and three other Library Science students from Butler University have come to town to fill the vacancy left when the elderly former librarian Electra Dietz died, heaven having stamped her OVERDUE. The young ladies plan to expand the 225-book collection, add shelving, a Photostat machine, lighting and subscriptions to all major magazines. And if the library is remade, so is Eleanor, transformed, with Irene's help, from grease monkey to young woman with a sense of herself in the world, who wins the first ten-mile stock car race in Hendricks County history. As always, Peck writes with humor and affection about times past, elders and growing up strong. This ode to librarians is a fine companion to Peck's ode to schoolteachers, The Teacher's Funeral (2004). (Fiction. 10+) Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 January #5
Once again, Peck (The Teacher's Funeral ) combines warmth, humor and local color to create a vibrant rendering of small-town America. Set in 1914, an era when women hobbled their skirts, and automobiles with "an electric self-starter" were still a novelty ("Crank from your seat, not from the street," went the Cadillac motto), the novel traces the eventful 14th summer of narrator "Peewee" McGrath, an orphaned tomboy who would rather help her brother tinker with cars than go to school. Both Peewee and her brother, Jake, long for the day when a road is built through their Indiana township, bringing business to their makeshift auto repair shop. In the meantime, four young librarians arrive from Indianapolis and stir up some dust--they're bent on spreading culture and reviving the long defunct local library. Irene, their ringleader, teaches Peewee a thing or two about being a lady. Her coworker Grace, the daughter of an automobile mogul, wheedles smiles and conversation out of painfully shy Jake. The story culminates at the county fair where Irene, Grace, Jake and Peewee join forces and skills to compete in the township's first annual road race. Offering plenty of action and a cast of larger-than-life characters, the book pays tribute to the social and industrial revolution, which awakens a sleepy town and marks the coming-of-age of an unforgettable heroine. Ages 10-16. (Apr.) [Page 70]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 August #2
"Offering plenty of action and a cast of larger-than-life characters, the book pays tribute to the social and industrial revolution which awakens a sleepy town and marks the coming-of-age of an unforgettable heroine," wrote PW. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2006 April
Gr 6-9 -Another gem from Peck, with his signature combination of quirky characters, poignancy, and outrageous farce. Parentless Peewee, 14, and Jake, the big brother she idolizes, live in rural Indiana in 1914. They run a small garage, but face nasty sabotaging from the rival Kirbys. The novel opens with a hilariously macabre twister that tears up Buelahland Cemetery, turning up coffins, and strews Mrs. B. D. Klinefelder's laundry, including her massive step-ins, around the county. The tornado doesn't dare to touch the stern former librarian's grave. The board of trustees closed the library after her death, but that situation is about to change. Irene Ridpath, a library science student from Butler University, arrives with her three equally pretty and wealthy sorority sisters, all of whom drive fabulous cars, sparking Jake's interest (not just in their cars). After many pranks and hijinks, Peewee ends up being the only finisher in a rough-and-ready auto race, an event recounted in the closing chapter when she is an elderly, although still spunky, old lady. A master of capturing voice, Peck aptly conveys the nuances of rural life in the early years of the last century while weaving in early feminism, the history of the automobile, and the message to be oneself. Kids will love the fast-paced action and librarians will guffaw over all the library puns.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME [Page 146]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2006 February
Education is not a high priority for Eleanor "Peewee" McGrath; she would much rather be repairing cars at her brother's garage than reading books. In fact, she would prefer that no one know she is female at all. Although her small Indiana town would like Peewee to dress and act more like a young lady, they generally agree with her opinion of books. The town librarian was not a popular woman, and when she died, the townspeople decided to close the library altogether. Peewee is looking forward to graduating eighth grade and devoting herself fully to helping her brother build the car that will win the upcoming race at the 1914 county fair. Things begin to change when a group of overenthusiastic librarians come to town to reopen the library and take Peewee under their wing. As they try to teach the town the importance of education, Peewee begins to see that she might have more potential than she ever realized. Peck has a talent for placing quirky characters in absurd situations while still making the story seem entirely plausible. He does it well here; the characters are often silly but ultimately relatable. The book has a gentle humor, similar to Polly Horvath's novels, which will satisfy the many fans of his earlier works. This book will appeal more to younger teens, but those who pick it up will be infected with the enthusiasm of Peewee and her unlikely group of friends.-Stephanie L. Petruso 4Q 4P M J Copyright 2006 Voya Reviews.