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The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library

Review

The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library

Written by Linda Bailey with illustrations by Victoria Jamieson.

Please let me get out my stern voice and wagging index finger for a moment and admonish you not to make the same mistake I did in regards to THE TINY HERO OF FERNY CREEK LIBRARY by Linda Bailey. When I read a description of this book I thought, “Yes, that is a book I want to read.” But when the book arrived in the mail and I saw the cover, I thought, “Ugh, this is not a book for me.” But I soon overcame my initial response and began reading about Eddie and Aunt Min and thank goodness I did, because I found a delightful story that was a book for me and for everyone else! So with my stern voice and wagging index finger I implore you not to judge a book by its cover!

The tiny hero of the book is Eddie. Eddie, like the rest of his family, is a bug. However, unlike the rest of his family, Eddie has a very green and very shiny shell, which makes him stand out and thus more vulnerable to the squishers, who we would be more likely to identify as humans. Eddie and his family have a unique living situation; they live in a crack behind the chalkboard in the 4th grade classroom at Ferny Creek Elementary School. This unique home has led to some unique abilities in some of the bugs, including Eddie and Aunt Min --- they can read.

"THE TINY HERO OF FERNY CREEK LIBRARY is a wonderful fantasy story....with all of the elements of a good adventure....an ode to stories and books and libraries and librarians and the stories of our childhoods that helped us become who we are."

This ability to read and the resulting love of literature leads to the conflict in the story. Aunt Min has ventured to the school’s library, her favorite place in the world, but she hasn’t returned. Eddie and his family are worried about Aunt Min, but what can they do? Eddie decides that he will go to the library to find Aunt Min, or, at least, to find out what happened to her. This is a huge and dangerous undertaking for Eddie, who has never left the 4th grade classroom, who doesn’t exactly know where the library is, and who is unsure who (squishers!) or what (spiders! rats!) he may encounter on his trek to the library.

Not to give too much away, but Eddie does make it to the library and does find Auntie Min (this happens by the end of chapter four, so I haven’t given too much away), but here is where the real adventure starts. The beloved Ferny Creek Library is under attack by outside forces and Eddie and Auntie Min feel compelled to fight back, even in a small way, to protect the library and the books they love so much.

THE TINY HERO OF FERNY CREEK LIBRARY is a wonderful fantasy story that warmly invites readers into Eddie’s miniature world. It is also a quest story with all of the elements of a good adventure. In addition, it is a coming-of-age story, as Eddie proves to himself and his family that he is not a nincompoop. But, perhaps above all else, THE TINY HERO OF FERNY CREEK LIBRARY is an ode to stories and books and libraries and librarians and the stories of our childhoods that helped us become who we are. Bailey includes snippets of beloved children’s stories throughout the novel, some of which are classics, such as WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak, and some of which are new favorites, such as THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT by Drew Daywalt. Bailey even included a “bugliography” of the books that are referenced throughout the novel.

A point about the book cover, since it initially turned me off from the book. THE TINY HERO OF FERNY CREEK LIBRARY is punctuated by black and white illustrations by Victoria Jamieson, the author and illustrator of the graphic novel ROLLER GIRL, which won a Newbery Honor. I love ROLLER GIRL and the other works by Jamieson that I have read. I felt like the drawings included throughout the novel added a great deal to the story, especially in relation to the miniature world aspect. While Jamieson did illustrate and design the cover as well, there is something in the colors and layout of the cover that was unappealing to me and gave me preconceived ideas about what the book would be like. However, as I sternly stated above, I was wrong to judge this book by its cover and found a delightful story and illustrations within.

I think that this book will appeal to readers of all kinds (bugs included) and ages. 

Reviewed by Aimee Rogers on August 22, 2017

The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library
Written by Linda Bailey with illustrations by Victoria Jamieson.

  • Publication Date: June 20, 2017
  • Genres: Animals , Education, Fiction, Humor
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books
  • ISBN-10: 0062440934
  • ISBN-13: 9780062440938