Library Girl

Holiday House/Margaret Ferguson. Sept. 2024. 256p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823455676.
Gr 3-6–Horvath’s latest opens in a small-town public library, closed for the night. Four librarians encounter an abandoned baby in the children’s department. To fulfill their individual dreams of motherhood, they decide to covertly raise the baby together in the library. As young Essie grows up, she can’t imagine getting by without her four mothers. However, when she turns 11, she feels the urge to expand her horizons by venturing outside the library walls. She starts taking weekly trips to the local mall, slowly introducing herself to the real world. Then she meets G.E., an 11-year-old boy whose parental situation appears just as mysterious as hers. Does G.E. hold the key to her past? As her search for family deepens, bibliophile Essie discovers there is always more to the story. The plot has enough twists to keep readers guessing until the end. Horvath’s rich descriptions of setting and quaint vocabulary draw readers in. Although Essie is naive in many ways, she is an astute observer of her surroundings. Secondary characters are (mostly) kind and supportive of Essie; tyrannical library administrator Ms. Matterhorn is an effective foil for Essie and her mothers. Most characters read white; librarian Taisha has “twilight” colored skin.
VERDICT A love letter to books and the dreamers who read them. Hand this charming story to precocious readers and fans of Matilda.

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