cover image Here Lies the Librarian

Here Lies the Librarian

Richard Peck, . . Dial, $16.99 (145pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-3080-9

Once again, Peck (The Teacher's Funeral ) combines warmth, humor and local color to create a vibrant rendering of small-town America. Set in 1914, an era when women hobbled their skirts, and automobiles with "an electric self-starter" were still a novelty ("Crank from your seat, not from the street," went the Cadillac motto), the novel traces the eventful 14th summer of narrator "Peewee" McGrath, an orphaned tomboy who would rather help her brother tinker with cars than go to school. Both Peewee and her brother, Jake, long for the day when a road is built through their Indiana township, bringing business to their makeshift auto repair shop. In the meantime, four young librarians arrive from Indianapolis and stir up some dust—they're bent on spreading culture and reviving the long defunct local library. Irene, their ringleader, teaches Peewee a thing or two about being a lady. Her coworker Grace, the daughter of an automobile mogul, wheedles smiles and conversation out of painfully shy Jake. The story culminates at the county fair where Irene, Grace, Jake and Peewee join forces and skills to compete in the township's first annual road race. Offering plenty of action and a cast of larger-than-life characters, the book pays tribute to the social and industrial revolution, which awakens a sleepy town and marks the coming-of-age of an unforgettable heroine. Ages 10-16. (Apr.)