Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

Alcatraz Smedry has a talent for breaking things, a skill that gets him in trouble on his birthday, when he sets fire to the kitchen of his foster home while trying to cook noodles. He can't worry about this for long, because he receives a bag of sand for a gift, and then a man claiming to be his grandfather shows up to recruit him to help get the sand back from evil librarians that are trying to take over the world.

There is a lot of clever writing, action, adventure and fun in this book. Who wouldn't like talking dinosaurs who carry themselves like Brits? This will be a big hit with the children, despite the warning of the book itself that librarians will not stock it because it portrays them badly.

I wanted to like this one a lot more than I did, and certainly, there were some laugh aloud moments. But I was disappointed. Having just slogged through Lemony Snicket, I found a lot of the same sort of irritating-to-adults humor. (Aren't I clever in writing this? Isn't this funny even though it's very horrible?) Also, there were a lot of things that weren't explained in the frenetic rush, although since the 300 plus page book encompasses mainly the action of one afternoon, there should have been time to tell us why the librarians are evil. There's no real reason.

And come on. Horn rimmed glasses, hair in a bun, and severe clothing? This would be funny if this applied to any librarian any 13 year old had ever seen. This stereotype hasn't been true for the past 40 years. Couldn't the librarians at least have been clever and evil? I'll buy this, but I had expected more.

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