'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Review: Midnight at the Library

Oh my. This book took my breath away. It is so special and so stunning that I welled up with emotion. I collect old books and I love to imagine the journeys some of my books have undertaken, through history and across the world, to land in my possession in this day and time.

This is a picture book that not only sparks imagination, but makes you consider the path a book might take through history, from humble beginnings, across time, across countries, through wars and conflicts, hidden and protected, as a sacred and special artefact.

Yet it is also just about a book. A book in a library, where children are free to explore and to discover whatever makes their heart sing.

There is an element of mystery and magic as this book opens, at midnight in the library when all the doors are shut. Off we go exploring, high and low and all around, searching for the little book.

The little book is very old. The little book is made of gold.

Long ago, in a far away place, a boy looked at the same moon and stars that shine through the library window. He wondered what the world is, and his thoughts and words filled pages and were made into a little book. The little book journeyed across land and sea, being owned, loved, read and lost along the way.

In so few words, accompanied by thoughtful and striking illustrations, this book sensitively introduces kids to the importance of books throughout history. Not to mention the dismaying truth that some beloved books were burned and destroyed and others lucky to escape, coming to remind us of parts of our history we might wish we could forget.

However, it manages to do all this whilst maintaining the thread of anticipation as we search for the book and consider the exciting journey it has been on before arriving safely in the library where it will forever be loved and wanted.

This book could be read to a range of age groups. Pre-schoolers will enjoy the story but I think five to eight year olds will gain the most from it, especially if read with them in a way that prompts discussion.

The words are sparing but each one chosen with care. The illustrations are simply stunning, from the moon and stars that will capture the imagination to the soft beautiful images of the book's journey to the perfect little gold book at the end. I could even stare at the endpapers for hours, with their countless shelves of old and collectable books.

Midnight at the Library is a high-quality hard cover production with thick, glossy pages. I love everything about this book and will be treasuring my copy for years to come.

Title: Midnight at the Library
Author: Ursula Dubosarsky
Illustrator: Ron Brooks
Publisher: National Library of Australia, $24.99
Publication Date: 1 November 2018
Format: Hard Cover
ISBN: 9780642279316
For ages: 4 - 8
Type: Picture Book