Who knew that libraries were centres for all evil? Alcatraz Smedry, practically the world champion of breaking things, never thought his most boring birthday present - a bag of sand - would get him into this much trouble. Yet now he's fleeing from evil Librarians, releasing dinosaurs to create a diversion in the Fiction section, and learning that ...
Who knew that libraries were centres for all evil? Alcatraz Smedry, practically the world champion of breaking things, never thought his most boring birthday present - a bag of sand - would get him into this much trouble. Yet now he's fleeing from evil Librarians, releasing dinosaurs to create a diversion in the Fiction section, and learning that clumsiness can be a powerful talent!
Publishers Weekly, 2007-11-19 In Sanderson's (Elantris) children's debut, an over-the-top fantasy/adventure, librarians are evil because they control all the information in Hushland (America). They distort some facts and fabricate the rest. Alcatraz, meanwhile, is the name of the protagonist, who has been raised in a series of foster homes. As the novel opens, on his 13th birthday, he is quickly initiated into the true nature of librarians by his heretofore unmet grandfather, Leavenworth Smedry. Before long, Sanderson brings on talking dinosaurs (it's a librarian distortion that they're extinct), a parallel world, visiting villains and more. The madcap plot can seem chaotic, with action pulling Alcatraz toward new characters at a breakneck speed, but Sanderson unexpectedly draws everything together in an extravagantly silly climax. Readers whose sense of humor runs toward the subversive will be instantly captivated: not only does the author poke fun at librarians, he lampoons books (including this one) in frequent passages directly addressed to readers: "You are saying to yourself, 'The story just lost me. It degenerated into pure silliness.... I'm going to go read a book about a boy whose dog gets killed by his mother. Twice.'" Like Lemony Snicket and superhero comics rolled into one (and then revved up on steroids), this nutty novel isn't for everyone, but it's also sure to win passionate fans. Ages 9-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-01-28 McWade's boyish voice and knack for nailing a frequent tongue-in-cheek tone aren't enough to elevate this adaptation of a frenzied fantasy to enjoyable listening status. On his 13th birthday, Alcatraz Smedry receives an unusual "gift" in the form of a bag of sand said to be the inheritance of his long-dead parents. The boy soon discovers his very gnarled family tree-and the reason why he and his relatives are in a battle with the evil librarians of Hushland (aka the United States), who selectively dole out and distort information to keep Hushlanders in the dark about the "real" world. The quirky characters (many named after famous prisons), the bursts of derring-do and absurd twists make good fodder for a fast-paced outing. But these elements come embedded in a text that depends on a series of asides to lampoon writing styles and devices of better-known works. Unfortunately, the asides continually refer to "reading" and "pages," when care might have been taken to suit them to the listener's perspective. Those wanting a linear tale are out of luck, although the snarkier set, among them Lemony Snicket fans, may want to hang on for the ride. Ages 9-up. Simultaneous release with the Scholastic hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 19, 2007). (Nov.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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