Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Scroll of Kings (The Lost Books #1)

Prineas, Sarah. The Scroll of Kings (The Lost Books #1)
June 26th 2018 by HarperCollins
ARC provided by publisher at ALA

Alex is struggling as the apprentice to an elderly librarian at a castle filled with old, musty diaries and laundry lists, and when Master Farnsworth dies under suspicious circumstances, the Dowager Duchess Purslane has had enough of him and sends him away. Not wanting to go back to his militaristic family, he forges the duchess' signature to obtain lodging and supplies, and journeys to Aethel, where the librarian has noticed books acting in a strange way. He secures a trial period until the end of the month from Queen Kenneret, who is very young and under the thrall of her Uncle Patch. Alex finds the library in an advanced state of disrepair, and sets to work putting things right. As he does so, he comes across more books, all with a strange symbol on them, that seem to have a mind of their own. He also uncovers evidence of a horrible historical event sixty years in the past that dealt with "L.B."s, and was devastating. He often runs afoul of Kenneret (he takes supplies since she won't give them to him), but she is impressed with his dedication. When her younger brother Charlie is kicked out of school again, she apprentices him to Alex. The two don't get on until Charlie challenges Alex to a duel, and Alex proves himself to be quite capable. Uncle Patch is involved in suspicious activities, the kingdom is in a fragile state, and Kenneret has to prove herself. Will the activities in the library, and the arrival of Alex's family, prove to be far more intertwined than we could imagine? I strongly suspect a book two to be in the offing.

Alex is a strong-headed but dedicated librarian who was "chosen" by the Red Codex. He doesn't believe that books are evil, even though they are capable of evil actions, so he doesn't want to destroy them, choosing instead to lock them up. He thinks that the books house the authors' spirits, so wants to keep them alive. There is a timely tie-in between the problems of the kingdom and the emergence of the "L.B."s that modern day librarians will love!

Kenneret and Charlie are brilliantly portrayed as well-meaning royalty who aren't quite sure what the best thing for their kingdom is. Luckily, they are open to trying. I would not be averse to a romance between the librarian and queen!

The library itself could have used more description, as well as more cups of tea by the fire, but times are dire, and we don't quite have the polished wood and gleaming rows of leather spines arranged quite yet. I will allow Alex a book or two to set things right in Aethel before getting the library whipped into shape.

Readers who loves the environment of this author's The Magic Thief or other medieval fantasy books such as Pierce's Tortall, or even the more modern Wexler's The Forbidden Library series, will enjoy imagining that they are working alongside Alex to both arrange books and help save the kingdom with swords and magic.

Glenn, Sharlee. Library on Wheels: Mary Lemist Titcomb and America's First Bookmobile
April 10th 2018 by Abrams Books
Public Library Copy

It's hard to imagine that there weren't always public libraries, but the idea didn't really start to catch on until the 1890s (when my grandmother was born!). Mary Lemist Titcomb came from a poor family but made sure that she became educated. After finishing high school in 1873, she took an internship to become a librarian. After being denied a position at the Chicago World's Fair's Women's Building Library in 1893 by Melvil Dewey because she wasn't widely known outside her community, she stepped up her her game and devoted herself to promoting innovative library services. She installed library boxes throughout her county in stores and private homes, if necessary. Fearing that farmers at the outer reaches of her district did not have books, she created a book wagon in 1905 to take on rounds while keeping the library building open! She was a consummate professional and no doubt the most "famous" librarian of her time.

Glenn has done exhaustive research to fill in spares facts, and since there are relatively few photographs of the time, she has done a great job of locating pictures that show, for example, what Mary might have looked like when she was a girl. The photos are all explained, but this will go far in giving modern children a better feel for the time. I love that Glenn was so dedicated to her topic that she helped get donations to put up a gravestone for Mary and her sister!

Appelt's Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky (April 24th 2001, HarperCollins) remains steadily popular in my library, so I'm definitely going to purchase a copy of this. It's beautifully formatted, and a fun, easy read. Plus, Titcomb is a great example of a woman who did not take "no" for an answer, so would make a great topic (if hard to research!) for a National History Day project. Pair this one with Farrell's  Fannie Fannie Never Flinched: One Woman’s Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union Rights (November 1st 2016,Abrams Books for Young Readers), or, if you are silly enough to have Parnassus on Wheels on your library shelves since 1969, use Library on Wheels as an excuse to continue to hold onto Morley's fun novel.

1001317Morley, Christopher. Parnassus on Wheels
June 1st 1955 by J.B. Lippincott Company
(Originally published in 1917)

Ms. Yingling

No comments:

Post a Comment