The Strange Library
An erudite boy enters a library with the desire to find a book that will explain how taxes were collected in the Ottoman Empire; needless to say, this is an unusual quest for a child. He is directed to a room in the basement by a disinterested librarian absorbed in her own reading, and things quickly get out of hand when he becomes too trusting and polite for his own good.
Recommended for 8- to 13-year-olds who are not afraid of cannibals, sheep, imprisonment, or bird-ghosts. Not for those who wish to trust librarians. It incorporates large, crudely drawn sketches that are reminiscent of 1920s modern art with its bold colors and simple designs, as well as the poppy graphic print design that was popular in magazines and ads in the 1960s.
The book is suitably imaginative and peculiar for Murakami, and the moral lesson—you can be too polite for your own good—is atypical for this type of adventure-gone-wrong story. A picture book that’s ideal for kids who don’t wish to be overwhelmed by plot or character development, and instead seek fear-inducing thrills, and quirky, other-worldly realms that become weird and threatening.
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