The Lonely Book

by Kate Bernheimer, Illustrations by Chris Sheban

Schwartz & Wade, April 24, 2012.
Picture Book, 40 pages.
ISBN: 0375862269
Ages 4-8

The Lonely Book by Kate Bernheimer

If you have ever held a special book, read in childhood or adolescence as an essential part of growing up, you will understand this sensitive tale about a young girl and a book that was special to her. The book begins as a very popular book in the school library, and there is a waiting list of children who want to read it. But through the years, as the book begins to show wear, fewer and fewer children are attracted to it, and the book becomes lonely. The book even gets lost.

Then, discovery! A girl finds the book and is enchanted by it. But all library books must be returned and sometimes they become lost. Alice, the girl, checks out several other books but forgets to renew her favorite book. When she is able to return to the library, the book cannot be found although she tries to find it every Saturday. The lost book goes from being moved to the basement of the library to being put outside in a book sale. With great joy Alice finds the book and, since it has gotten a little wet on the outside in a passing shower, the librarian gives the book to Alice. She takes it home where it remains on her bookshelf and in her heart, lonely no more.

In an age when more books are read with an ereader than are held in the hands of children, we need to do our best to foster that tactile and mental excitement of holding, reading, and loving books as special things. The Lonely Book will foster such feelings and perhaps will inspire children to love that palpable thrill of holding a book in their hands and enjoying its quiet entertainment.

Illustrator Chris Sheban has caught the very essence of The Lonely Book in his soft, pastel illustrations. Each illustration gently invites the reader into that fast disappearing world of holding and experiencing wonderful, exciting books. His evocative drawings reveal a world of the remembered pleasures of being in a library and discovering the thrill of that very special book.

--Sarah Reaves White

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