cover image The Horseback Librarians

The Horseback Librarians

Jane Yolen, illus. by Alexandra Badiu. Albert Whitman, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8075-6291-8

Yolen presents a slice of American library history with this day-in-the-life tale of an Appalachian horseback librarian. Traveling with her book-carting steed, pale-skinned Anna Mary—“rhymes with library”—crisscrosses “the backwoods of Kentucky” delivering volumes including Alice in Wonderland and Millions of Cats. While making the rounds, she chats with adults, reads to children shown with varied skin tones, and accepts hospitality from all—receiving hard-boiled eggs from one family and spending the night in another’s barn. Yolen’s detailed narration paints a picture of Anna Mary’s travels: one morning, she “eats a quick meal of cornbread and has a cup of tea she has heated on a small fire.” Badiu’s static renderings mix depictions of paper-doll-like figures going about their days and relishing reading. An author’s note discusses the WPA’s Pack Horse Library Project. Ages 4–8. (June)