The Night Library by David Zeltser, illustrated by Raúl Colón
The Night Library
by David Zeltser, illustrated by Raúl Colón
Review Copy from
Random House Children's Books
Everyone knows that libraries are magical places. Especially one (NYPL, to be exact) guarded by stone lions named Patience and Fortitude. However, the unnamed narrator of The Night Library is disappointed to receive a book as a birthday gift from his parents the night before the big day.
Fortunately, Fortitude shows up outside the narrator's window in the middle of the night, ready to change his mind about books.
Entering the library at night, Fortitude and the narrator head through the grand reading room to the shelves where the books seem to be coming to life. Some books, "jittered, others swayed, a few twirled gracefully," all skittering out of the narrator's reach. Fortitude tells him, "Adult books can be hard to grasp." In the children's section, the narrator finds books he remembers his grandfather reading to him before he died. As the books leap and play, they also take the shape of the stories the narrator remembers, from The Polar Express to The Cat in the Hat to The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Reminded of the time spent being read to by his grandfather, the narrator, the books take on the shape of the narrator and his grandfather, reading in a chair together. Recalling this special time with his grandfather, the narrator rediscovers his love of books and reading and the happy memories of time spent with his grandfather reading and talking. Finally, Fortitude returns the narrator to his bed. He wakes on his birthday, happy to have the book his parents gave him and even happier to find a shiny new library card with "some very big tooth marks," waiting outside his door.