Wednesday, June 17, 2020

La biblioteca mágica - por Valeria Cavajal Vasco

According to amazon I bought this book on April 30, so I must have purchased it for Día de los niños/Día de los libros (aka "Día" or Children's Day/Book Day). I do recall specifically looking for a library-centric, Spanish-language book to read. I usually pick a picture book to blog about for Día but this year I selected a chapter book, so it took me a bit longer to read it.  This is the story of friends Emma, Park, Paige, and Liam who want to take a summer vacation together, but first they need to earn some money. Paige and Park find work at a local store, and Liam gets a job with his uncle. Emma is worried that she will be the only one who won't be earning any money, until her mother helps her land a job at the local library el "único lugar al que muy pocos adolescentes irían a pedir trabajo", as well as "el lugar más aburrido del pueblo" (for those who are Spanish-language challenged, that translates to 'the only place that few adolescents would ask for work'; and 'the most boring place in town').

Emma, however, discovers that the library is far from boring. In a library lover's version of Night at the Museum Emma learns that those who work the night shift have the ability to visit the characters in the books. Beginning with Caperucita roja (Little Red Riding Hood), she moves on to Peter Pan,  Harry Potter; and Crepúsculo (Twilight), among others. From each book she also brings back a souvenir (Red Riding Hood's Cape and Peter Pan's sword, for instance). Far from boring, Emma finds that she not only looks forward to going to work in the library she is more interested in her work than in hanging out with her friends. She is reluctant to tell them about the library's secret until she learns that the mayor wants to close the library because nobody visits it, and it isn't a money maker. With the help of her friends and the other library employees, she comes up with a plan to save the library.

I must say I was left a little wanting with the resolution they came up with which I saw as stop gap at best, and had nothing to do with magic. No one wanted to reveal the library's secret for fear of exploiting it. However, if I were writing the ending to this book the friends would have sparked interest in the library, and helped it to make money without letting anyone in on the secret by  strategically visiting books, bringing back cool relics, and selling them. In fact I thought this solution was so obvious I really was stunned that it wasn't how the book ended.

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