A librarian takes a boy named Evan on a tour of a library.
George introduces readers to the library via Rita the librarian, who shows reluctant-reader Evan all of the services and activities of the library, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a party. Spotting Evan, Rita invites him to join storytime (which ends with cake), and then she conducts a brief reference interview, learning that he likes rocket ships. Bingo! Rita finds Evan a few books about space and helps him with the self-checkout machine. It’s not a particularly thrilling narrative, and the illustrations do not compensate. The flat cartoon style is reminiscent of 1950s-era primers, and the library depicted is angular and sterile, for all of Rita’s smiling welcome. The characters are likewise flat, though Rita has a contemporary look, sporting dangling earrings and purple nail polish. Rita is Asian, Evan is white, and the other users of the library represent a diversity of racial backgrounds. Backmatter summarizes Rita’s tasks (putting books away, ordering new ones, helping people with computers, and finding books for users) and tools as well as “some of the other busy people librarians work with” and classroom activities. In the end, the book cannot rise above its pedantic goal.
Well-intended but poorly executed, this book may fill a gap on a community-helpers shelf but it’s not likely to foster a love of reading or libraries on its own. (Informational picture book. 5-8)