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Cheese and applesauce

Cover of The Lost Library
A review of The Lost Library by Rebecca Stead

Rising sixth graders Evan and Rafe discover a little free library that appears overnight filled with books that belonged to Martinville Public Library.  There has been no public library in Martinville their entire lives so there is much excitement and intrigue surrounding the library built with a crate and cabinet doors that smell like cheese and applesauce.  Who built it?  Where have the library books been all these years?  Why was one of the books checked out by Evan's dad over and over again?  What is the name of the cat who is guarding the books?  Some people call the cat Goldie.  Others call the cat Sunshine.  Wouldn't everyone be surprised to learn the cat's name is actually Mortimer and he used to live in the public library?

While Evan and Rafe are detecting, another story is unfolding in the History House where the librarians of the former library reside.  The love of sharing stories, connecting readers with books, and providing help are at their "librarian" core through and through.  Martinville is an idyllic community and the adults and secondary characters are quirky and sweet and care about one another.  As with all books written by Rebecca Stead, things aren't necessarily what they seem.  Just when you think you know where the plot is headed, another unexpected detail crops up that catches you off guard in a pleasant and satisfactory way.  

The Lost Library starts with a cart full of books returned to the Martinville Public Library on the same day it burned to the ground.  Follow what happens to the books next in this exceptional middle grade mystery about a little free library, a fire, a small town historical society, a cat, some mice, ghosts and transitions.  Really, isn't all of life about transitions of one sort or another? 

Dec 21, 2023