Here Lies the Librarian

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Here Lies the Librarian Book Poster Image
An enjoyable read rooted in historical realities.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Some mean brothers tie an oily rag to a dog's tail and set it on fire. Later the brothers are peppered by a shotgun. One of them throws a wrench at Jake's head during a car race, causing a crash and injuries.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A mention of drunks coming out of the pool hall.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there's not much to be concerned about here beyond a little minor violence -- but no one is hurt too seriously.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bypalmbeach April 5, 2012

Family research together

background could be researched of the times, women and their place in society
Adult Written bySchoolLibrarian August 6, 2011

Poor 14 year old girl grows up in Indiana in 1914; auto history

One of the best coming of age stories for girls. Story is told in 1914 and has a lot of auto history in it, might appeal to boys too. LOVED this book and I am... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 3, 2012

It's A OK book....

Book is a bit slow starting out - after about 5 chapters is finally got better. Not one of the best I've read by Peck. To me the name doesn't fit the... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old March 6, 2010
lots of facts on the auto industry in 1914. also the ways of life and variations of class are pointed out. i found it believable and humorous at points.

What's the story?

Out in the sticks of Indiana just before WWI, Peewee has lived with her beloved older brother Jake since their parents' passing. They live hand to mouth, scraping out a living by repairing what few newfangled cars happen by their country shack, and looking forward to the day when the road will be paved, bringing them more business. But only if the Kirbys, who own the garage in town, don't run them out first with constant theft and vandalism.

Meanwhile, a gaggle of wealthy young ladies fresh from the School of Library Science at Butler U. have come to town. Finding the little town library closed since the last librarian was found expired \"with a fistful of library cards in her cold hand,\" they determine to reopen and improve it, simultaneously improving the town and, most especially, Peewee. But Peewee, content to work on cars, isn't so sure she wants to be improved.

Is it any good?

The whole book is a delight, made even more so -- in this age of 500 plus-page tomes aimed at 9-year-olds -- by being tightly written and edited. Just to get things off to a rousing start, for example, Peck opens with a tornado that rips apart a graveyard, an event that sets the plot off in several different directions that wind their own ways for awhile before twisting together in a surprising but satisfying conclusion, followed by an even more satisfying final chapter set 60 years later.

With his last half-dozen novels, multi-award winning author Richard Peck has carved out for himself a new niche -- the rural Midwestern early 20th century comedy. This is another wonderful example of this one-man mini-genre: vivid characters (including adults, who are all too rare in children's books), lots of period detail, solid values, a nice mix of clever wit and broad comedy, independent girls, and an affectionately sardonic eye for the foibles of rural middle America, where the author grew up, all conveyed in some of the most carefully crafted prose in the business.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how things have changed between the time period in which the book is set and today -- especially for girls and women. Also, why are these wealthy and well-educated women so eager to be librarians in this hick town? How does their presence affect the locals? How does it change Peewee?

Book details

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate