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The Great Piratical RumbustificationThe Great Piratical Rumbustification. The Librarian and the Robbers. by Margaret Mahy. Pictures by Quentin Blake. Margaret Mahy is world-famous children’s author from New Zealand whom I have somehow never heard of before. I’m not quite sure how this book came across my radar, but there it was, a children’s book featuring both pirates and a librarian. How could I resist? Though these are packaged as a children’s chapter book, the book consists of two longish short stories, or maybe short novellas. In “The Great Piratical Rumbustification”, a family with three young boys moves into a house in the suburbs. It’s meant to give the children more room to play, but the cost is so high that their father is always depressed and the boys are not really sure where they can safely let loose. Things change when their mother hires a last-minute babysitter from a service for them, who turns out to be a mostly retired pirate. He sets off a signal in the backyard announcing a Rumbstification, and soon the house is overflowing with partying pirates, an event which changes everyone’s life for the good. In “The Librarian and the Robbers”, a proper but beautiful librarian is kidnapped by a gang of robbers. She wins them over by curing their measles with information in a home nursing guide from the library and by reading them thrilling tales while they are recovering. This contains some tropes that really ought not to be preserved – what is basically Stockholm syndrome combined with the Good Woman Can Cure Evil Man myth. I found myself charmed anyway. Quentin Blake’s characteristic flyaway ink drawings complete the lighthearted feel of the book. I haven’t had a chance to try it on the boy yet, but this feels like a perfect read-aloud book when a picture book is too short and a regular chapter book too long.

Cross-posted to and .
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Library Mascot Cage Match: an Unshelved Collection by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
Unshelved is a library comic strip, featuring the librarians of Mallville going about their daily work. My internet librarian likes to post strips at the bottom of our intranet page, but only one every couple of weeks. Now you, too, can get to know Buddy the Beaver who shelves books; Tamara, the idealistic vegetarian children’s librarian, Ned, the nudist libertarian patron, and our hero, Dewey, a 20-something slacker librarian who’d rather be reading comics than helping you. The humor and situations will be very familiar to librarians, but geeks and gamers and, well, anyone with a sense of humor will appreciate it as well. [ profile] amnachaidh and I were both laughing out loud, and having trouble sharing the book. Even if you can’t find the book, you can still read the whole series online at , and even have the daily strip emailed to you.
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I don't often get on a librarian soap-box, but here are a couple of nice links I found today:

Not About the Buildings is a grassroots campaign to save the branches of the Providence Public Library. You can support them by downloading songs from the Library Album, including "The Missing Arm of Viktor Krum" by Harry and the Potters.

See no evil? is an editorial in the Guardian about the dangers of internet filtering.


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October 2012

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