When a wonderful new book arrives at the library, at first it is loved by all, checked out constantly, and rarely spends a night on the library shelf. But over time it grows old and worn, and the children lose interest in its story. The book is sent to the library's basement where the other faded books live. How it eventually finds an honored place on a little girl's bookshelf—and in her heart—makes for an unforgettable story sure to enchant anyone who has ever cherished a book. Kate Bernheimer and Chris Sheban have teamed up to create a picture book that promises to be loved every bit as much as the lonely book itself.
Sheban's (A Night on the Range) moody light and deep shadows haunt this tale of a library book that, like the Velveteen Rabbit, waits a long, long time for an "always-and-forever home." The book's cover bears "a picture of a girl in the forest under a toadstool," and a girl named Alice falls in love with the book, loses it, then finds it again. The nameless book expresses emotion quietly but definitively: "If someone had looked closely at the lonely book's cover, they would have seen that the girl under the toadstool had started to cry." Bernheimer (The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum) carefully calibrates the story's tension to draw readers in, switching between viewpoints; at the moment Alice realizes she's forgotten to renew the cherished book she's taken to the library, readers see the book waiting in the basement with other book sale books, "lonelier than it had ever been." It's a book about books, but more particularly a book about library culture; readers who make faithful weekly trips to their own libraries will be especially charmed. Ages 4 8.