Books! Books! Books! Exploring the Amazing Collection of the British Library

Mick Manning, illus. by Brita Granström. Candlewick, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9757-0
Manning and Granström (William Shakespeare: Scenes from the Life of the World’s Greatest Writer) continue their exploration of English heritage with this lively “guided tour” of the British Library, which is akin to the U.S. Library of Congress. “Welcome to the greatest library in the world!” begins the conversational, docentlike narrative, as though readers have stepped inside “the largest public building constructed in the U.K. in the twentieth century.” The virtual tour begins with ancient texts (hand-lettered religious gospels from 700 C.E.), then spotlights works from the likes of the Brontë sisters, da Vinci, and Darwin; an early copy of the Magna Carta, sheet music handwritten by Handel, and daily newspapers also make the cut. Cleverly assembled collages lighten the tone, as archival images form backdrops or combine with stylized paper cutouts of the authors (a handwritten manuscript is the pattern on Jane Austen’s dress). Pencil vignettes offer additional information about the objects. More than a cursory sampling of the library’s more than 150 million literary artifacts, this playful sojourn among the stacks introduces some of the most renowned works to influence Western civilization. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/03/2017
Release date: 09/05/2017
Genre: Children's
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