cover image Miss Brooks Loves Books! (And I Don’t)

Miss Brooks Loves Books! (And I Don’t)

Barbara Bottner, , illus. by Michael Emberley. . Knopf, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-375-84682-3

Book Week is looming, and the young narrator of this biblio comedy couldn’t be less enthusiastic—every book in the library strikes her as mild-mannered mush. Her opinion of the titular librarian is even less charitable: a hippie dippie–looking literary cheerleader, Miss Brooks has no compunction about donning ridiculous costumes (including a hilarious Very Hungry Caterpillar) to whip kids into a reading frenzy. “I’ll never love a book the way you do,” the girl tells Miss Brooks. But that’s before she discovers a modern classic that tickles her gothic tastes—Shrek —confirming Miss Brooks’s belief that everyone “can find something funny and fantastic and appalling in the library.” The heroine makes an indelible presence: Bottner (Raymond and Nelda ) endows her with a voice that drips weltschmerz and recalls a younger version of MTV’s deadpan Daria Morgendorffer. Emberley’s (Mail Harry to the Moon! ) slice-of-life cartooning is funny, empathetic, and of-the-moment. This story should persuade hard-to-please children that the perfect book for them is out there. Ages 5–8. (Mar.)