Rummanah Aasi
 If you know of any young readers who need some adventure, action, and humor in their summer reading schedule, be sure to hand them Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand. I found the book to be a quick, fast, and enjoyable read and I look forward to reading more by the author. Many thanks to Sourcebooks and Netgalley for allowing me to read an advanced reader's copy of the book.

Description: Dorrie Barnes had no idea an overdue library book would change her life. When Dorrie and her brother Marcus chase her pet mongoose into the janitor's closet of their local library, they accidentally fall through a passage into Petrarch's Library -the headquarters of a secret society of ninja librarians who have an important mission: protect those whose words have gotten them into trouble. Anywhere in the world and at any time in history.
   Dorrie would love nothing more than to join the society. But when a traitor surfaces, she and her friends are the prime suspects. Can they clear their names before the only passage back to the twenty-first century closes forever?


Review: Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand reminded me a lot of the Indiana Jones movies except it features librarians and a really cool library. Dorrie and her brother Marcus literally drop into a strange new world when they crash through the floor of their New Jersey public library and into a library that transcends space and time. The siblings discover they have landed in Petrarch's Library, a web of libraries from different places and times, with doorways to ancient Greece and to their modern-day hometown of Passaic, New Jersey. At the Petrarch Library, "lybrarians" train to become agents, or "ninja librarians" as Marcus calls them, who go on missions to rescue imperiled writers, including Socrates. Dorrie and Marcus use their temporary stay in Petrarch's Library to become apprentices, learning swordplay from Cyrano de Bergerac and the deceptive arts from Casanova. I love how the author uses both historical and literary figures in the story. Those familiar with Cyrano and Socrates will understand the hints dropped within the plot while others will be intrigued to learn to find out more. I also really appreciate the author giving younger readers an inside look at the daily duties of a librarian which include reference, research, and cataloging amongst other things. The "lybrarians" aren't your caricature figures who shush you constantly, but rather people you want to hang out with and learn from them. 
  As Dorrie and Marcus attempt to return an accidentally stolen document to the archives, they uncover other secrets and mysteries. The lead-up to the kids' discovery of Petrarch's Library is a bit slow, but it allows you to get a better sense of the characters, but once Dorrie and Marcus are in the Library, the melding of fantasy, adventure, and history is enlightening and the story takes off. Dorrie is a smart, observant, wannabe sword fighter, who is struggling to build her self confidence. Marcus is an adorable and typical teenage brother: a mix of hormones, sarcasm, and obsessed with Star Wars, but he does genuinely care for his younger sister. I really like watching the sister and brother duo work together. I don't think you can have too many good sibling relationships that are in books. The Library is a vivid, well-drawn world that you wish would really exist in real life so you can visit. There is also a large supporting cast of characters that have distinct personalities and their special talents and knowledge seem natural. This book does have a feel for a series beginner, and I hope we get to see more of Petrarch's Library and more of Dorrie and Marcus.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 4-6.

If you like this book try: The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein,
3 Responses
  1. OMG! This sounds so perfect for a couple of kidlets I know who are really into reading. So going to recommend this to them!


  2. This sounds like a highly entertaining read for middle graders. I will add it to my kids list. Thanks!


  3. How can I access the Petrarch Library, Rummanah?! I wish a library like that actually existed!

    I haven't heard of this one but it sounds like something my brother and cousin would enjoy so I'll see if I can get my hands on a copy of this one. Thanks for another MG recommendation :)


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