Thursday, February 06, 2020

A Girl, A Raccoon, and the Midnight Moon

Young, Karen Romano. A Girl, A Raccoon, and the Midnight Moon
January 7th 2020 by Chronicle Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Pearl was practically born at the branch library where her mother works, and considers it home. When the head of the Edna St. Vincent Millay statue is stolen from the scruffy garden, Pearl is devastated and determined to find the culprit. Her mother alerts the local newspaper, and the attention the branch receives  brings to light the fact that it isn't as busy as the other branches and because the building is in poor condition, it might be sold. Evil contractors even come to take measurements for making it into apartments. Pearl and her friends try to rally support and plan a big Halloween party to encourage local people to sign their children up for cards. At the same time, there is a mystery about Mrs. Mallomar and her children who are raccoons who can read and live in the library at times. Sidebars from the raccoons give interesting information about everything from library staffing to raccoon habits.
Strengths: I love Millay's work, and am a sucker for a good library book, and Pearl's branch is certainly a very appealing place. The mystery about the statue, combined with the New York City setting, gave it a From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler feel. The characters are delightful, and I love the rallying of community support, especially since it involves getting more people to use the library. The building was also very appealing.
Weaknesses: The raccoons communicate with humans. This is definitely speculative fiction.
What I really think: A book almost 400 pages long with a cover like this would never circulate in my library. Had it been 200 pages long (maybe dropping the raccoon story line), I would have bought it for fans of Tan's A Kind of Paradise. This had a definite 1970s vibe to it, especially with the talk of newspaper articles.

Ms. Yingling

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