As soon as I heard the first rumours of this story emerge in The Bookseller announcement I was immediately intrigued, to be fair Louie Stowell had me at dragons and libraries. When I discovered that this series would be aimed at 7 – 9 years I was ridiculously gleeful, I’ve been on a mission this year to get my hands on as many quality books as possible for my emerging readers at school who are not quite ready for middle grade books. I can confirm that Louie’s The Dragon in the Library illustrated by Davide Ortu stands out from the crowd in this category. Not only is it brilliantly told but it’s stunningly illustrated, so let’s find out more about what’s hidden beneath this sublime cover.
So this is a story about saving libraries, so our hero surely has to be a book lover who likes nothing better than spending hours locked away reading a book. But no cleverly Louise chooses the least likeliest of heroes who can’t imagine a worse place to spend the summer holiday. Instead Kit would rather hang around with a bunch of dead people at the graveyard then go to a place where she is most likely to ‘die of boredom.’ Sadly Kit’s plans are thwarted by her two best friends Josh and Alita who are determined to get their hands on the latest Danny Fandango book and drag her along. And it’s a good job that they are so insistent because Kit makes an outstanding discovery about herself and the library, that will change her life forever.
Exquisite world-building meets wonderful storytelling in this fiction debut from Louie Stowell. You know that a writer has you totally enthralled when you’re desperate to go and lose yourself in their world, have a wander around, peek in places you really shouldn’t be looking, to see what you might find. The characterisation is divine, Kit is so stroppy with just the right amount of attitude to make her really appealing, foolish and headstrong she doesn’t always get things right but the reader is always firmly on her side even when things go badly wrong. I have a particular fondness for the librarian Faith, clearly Louie knows lots of librarians because she has captured brilliantly the kick-ass, subversive side that we try to keep hidden so that the general public don’t discover our true powers. In case you haven’t worked it out from the title, there are dragons IN the library, now if that doesn’t want to make you read a book I don’t know what will. Davide Ortu’s illustrations are an absolute dream, they enhance the story sublimely filling the pages with excitement and wonder and he has reflected the personalities of the characters superbly. All that is left to say is go forth and buy it, I predict that this book will be a huge hit in my school library.
Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for more reviews and features?
Thank you to Becca and Nosy Crow for inviting me to join in with the blog tour and for sending me a gifted proof copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. ‘The Dragon in the Library,’ is available to buy online now or from any good bookshop.