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THE WELLS BEQUEST by Polly Shulman Kirkus Star


by Polly Shulman

Age Range: 10 - 18

Pub Date: June 13th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-399-25646-2
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

In this stand-alone companion to The Grimm Legacy (2010), the most extraordinary library in the world makes physical impossibilities possible.

Sitting glumly at home, Leo notices an object materializing on the floor. The glittering, football-sized machine has “gears and rods and knobs and a little saddle”—and two miniscule humans, one of whom is himself. “I’m you, only later,” explains tiny-Leo, exhorting regular-Leo to read H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. Thank goodness for Leo’s new job as a page at the New-York Circulating Material Repository, a lending library of historical and obscure objects. There he meets Jaya—recognizable from the tiny machine. When an unstable fellow page claims to possess Nikola Tesla’s death ray, Leo and Jaya snap into action using one of the Repository’s Special Collections, the Wells Bequest. The Bequest’s science-fiction objects (how can they exist? That question is called, delightfully, “literary-material philosophy”) let Leo and Jaya dash back in time to Tesla’s 1895 laboratory fire and cross the Atlantic in the Épouvante from Jules Verne’s Master of the World. Hilarious time-travel dialogue keeps the mood light: “Well, she didn’t, or you wouldn’t have to ask her to now,” Leo explains. “So that means she won’t, so she can’t.” In this exhilarating Repository, even the library cataloguing system is juicy.

A clever, sparky adventure made of science fiction, philosophy and humor. (author’s note, librarian’s note) (Science fiction. 10 & up)