cover image The Book of Gold

The Book of Gold

Bob Staake. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-553-51077-5

Isaac Gutenberg’s parents want him to read, so they bring their disinterested son to the New York Public Library. He’s unimpressed. Later that day, an elderly shopkeeper tells him about a book that turns to gold when it’s opened: “You’ll need patience and fortitude to find The Book of Gold!” Isaac sets out in a frenzy to find the precious book and get rich, but his search slows as he discovers that the books he’s tossing aside can answer all sorts of questions. Staake (Beachy and Me) places Isaac in a series of magnificent architectural spaces teeming with detail, including many inside and outside the famous library (whose two lions, Isaac eventually discovers, are called Patience and Fortitude). Sepia-toned illustrations reflect the book’s initial 1930s setting, giving way to color as Isaac awakens to the potential of books over the course of many decades. The pitch for reading is a little heavy-handed, and the information Isaac finds (“He learned who invented pizza. He saw diagrams showing how heavy ships could float”) isn’t supplied—readers will have to seek out those answers themselves. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent: Gillian MacKenzie, Gillian MacKenzie Agency. (Sept.) [/em]