A ghost may be haunting the New York Public Library in this novel published in partnership with the venerable institution.
It’s the Roaring ’20s, and 11-year-old Viviani, nicknamed “Red,” is living in the very best house, the main building of the New York Public Library (now called the Stephen A. Schwartzman Building). Her father is the building superintendent, and she and her brothers enjoy playing baseball using books as bases. But stories and storytelling are her true love. “Their truth was in their fun, not in their facts.” With a friend and her two older brothers, Viviani tries to impress the new girl in her class, Merit Mubarak, just relocated from Egypt, with a tale that a ghost—real to Viviani but questionable to Merit—inhabits the building. At the same time, valuable stamps are stolen from a special exhibit, making their nighttime ghost-hunting expedition all the more exciting and scary. Tubb, who addresses readers as “Dear Friend,” begins each chapter with a subject heading, Dewey Decimal number, and see-also references. Forget kids—librarians will love it. There are neighborhood references and interesting details about the library building, staff, special collections, and the lions out front. Viviani and her family are based in fact and were white. Bruno’s line drawings help establish the time period.
The perils of preteen friendship, ghost-hunting, and solving a theft make for pleasant reading. (author’s note, timeline, archival photographs) (Historical fiction. 9-12)