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The Library

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  2,354 ratings  ·  250 reviews
Meet an unforgettable bibliophile

Elizabeth Brown doesn't like to play with dolls and she doesnt like to skate. What she does like to do is read books. Lots of books. The only problem is that her library has gotten so big she can't even use her front door anymore. What should Elizabeth Brown do? Start her own public library, of course! With charming verse and watercolors Sa
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published April 10th 1995 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published January 1st 1995)
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Library Lion by Michelle KnudsenThe Library by Sarah StewartThe Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians by Carla  MorrisThe Library Dragon by Carmen Agra DeedyLibrary Mouse by Daniel Kirk
Picture Books about the Library!
2nd out of 111 books — 126 voters
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Best Children's Books
236th out of 3,261 books — 4,840 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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sorry, balmer, this book is charm city.

everything about this book is wonderful. usually, i am not a fan of books in rhyme, but this one is not cloying at all, and i love love love the illustrations. especially this one:

i am someone with plenty of injuries from multi-tasking.

this is a story about a woman who has "too many" books, but honestly, if you can still vacuum, you do not have too many books. the crazyperson in me looks at all the unused space in that drawing and thinks - "nahhh, you're
Jun 04, 2009 Kathryn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: book-lovers
A sweet, humorous poetic tribute to the love of books! The illustrations are marvelous with lots of charming, amusing touches. Stewart's poem flows smoothly (for the most part) and makes a cohesive, interesting and touching story without succumbing to the "gimmicks" of many tales told through rhyme. I did find that the portrayal of Elizabeth was a bit stereotypical--book-lover who has no interest in dating, like to sip tea surrounded by kitty-cats, ends her days a spinster, etc. However, I did f ...more
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
Jul 12, 2014 Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship} rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bibliophiles everywhere, old and small
Recommended to Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship} by: karen
The cosy, old school hand-painted illustration of a book-cluttered hall in karen's review together with the title The Library enticed me to grab this, appropriately, from my local library. I'm so glad I did!

Yes, I'll grudgingly admit I'm not a child anymore, but I'm well aware of these new soulless block-colour, crisp-lined, computer-generated illustrations which frankly offend my senses, that seeing something lovingly created the old fashioned way warms my heart and fills me with child-like gl
Elizabeth Brown is the ultimate bookworm. She doesn't play with dolls, dance, or go on dates. Instead she reads, buys books, and reads. Eventually Elizabeth Brown is faced with the dilemma that has stumped many book lovers...what do you do when your house is so full of books that you cannot fit one more?

Stewart shares the story of Elizabeth Brown in verse. Her poetic lines are complimented by softly hued, engaging water-colored illustrations, as well as, smaller black and white pencil drawings c
Lisa Vegan
Dec 11, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all who like to read, those who enjoy books, bookstores and/or libraries
Recommended to Lisa by: Abigail A.
This is an utterly charming book. The illustrations and story are both wonderful and work so well together. This book is created by a wife (story) and husband (illustrations) team, and I was captivated.

I probably identify too much with the main character (who seems to be based on a real person) and who accumulates way too many books but finds a creative solution to her predicament. Maybe someday…
Matti Karjalainen
Dec 30, 2014 Matti Karjalainen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Kirjastoihmisille.
Recommended to Matti by: Menni
Sarah Stewartin kirjoittama ja David Smallin kuvittama "The Library" on kuvakirja punahiuksisesta Elizabeth Brownista, joka putoaa eräänä päivänä taivaalta laihana, likinäköisenä ja ujona. Elizabeth pitää lukemisesta: hän lukee vuoteessa, käydessään ostoksilla ja jopa harrastaessaan päälläseisontaa. Deittailukaan ei vedä vertoja lukemiselle.

Elizabethin eteen tulee lopulta perustavaa laatua oleva ongelma: kirjat täyttävät kaiken tilan. Mikä neuvoksi? Kirjaston perustaminen, tietysti! Sen jälkeen
This is one of my all-time favorite books. My favorite little independent bookstore when I was in high school was called The Paper Bag Princess, and one time my mom went in without me and the owner called her over. "This book reminds me of your daughter," she said. "You have to get it for her!"

(I had a big poofy perm and glasses at the time.)

My mom did get it for me, and it became my favorite thing in the world. I would read it over and over, until I had it memorized, because this was me! I want
A nice tribute to Mary Elizabeth Brown. Written in verse, Elizabeth Brown is a reader. A voracious reader and book collector. I enjoyed the story and most of the illustrations, however, I was overwhelmed by one page with an illustration that showed her home covered in piles of books ("When volumes climbed the parlor walls/And blocked the big front door/She had to face the awful fact/She could not have one more.") My grandmother was a hoarder and I found this quite disturbing. I don't know that i ...more
We love this book. At times it feels as if our house may become "The Library" which is pretty cool :)
Megan Cureton
The Library is a book about a girl named Elizabeth. She doesn't like to play with dolls or anything else, all she likes to do is read books. Over the years of her reading books, she had collected so many that they simply cannot fit in her house any longer. Because of this, she opens a library where people who love to read just as much as she does can come and read her books. I thought that this book was pretty good but it wasn't one of my favorite. While I was reading, I wasn't excited to turn t ...more
Danie Plott
Written in memory of a real life librarian named Elizabeth Brown, “The Library” brings the reader into the life that we all expected our childhood librarians to have led. Elizabeth Brown starts reading from an early age and is content to spend her whole life reading books, and was uninterested in all the normal things girls do growing up. Elizabeth is often absent from the world around her because her nose is always in a book. Together, Stewart and Small create a goofy and lovable character that ...more
Gwen Haaland
This beautifully illustrated children's book tells a true story in rhyme. The story is based on Elizabeth's Brown's life, which revolved around books and reading. SPOILER ALERT: In the stunning ending, we learn that in old age, Elizabeth donated her home and lifetime collection of books to her town to create a town library. Inspiring!
I was just remembering how I brought this book to ALA with me a few years ago because David Small was signing his new book Stitches and I hoped he would sign my favorite picture book. Little did I know his wife Sarah Stewart was nearby and I got to meet her, too.
Anne Slater
I bought it for the cover (my daughter at age 14), for the subject (she and I are both librarians).
I gave it as a gift because it was so beautifully written and magnificently illustrated.

Having just been reminded of it, I now need to buy another copy.
Another good one by this author and illustrator. With this book, the format is a rhyming poem and has humor in its words. Pictures are humorous, too. I just can't help wondering exactly WHAT is being said about avid readers?
Beautifully illustrated children's book about book lovers and libraries. The main character was quite stereotypical but then again, the book was written 20 years ago.
Colby Sharp
Rereading this book after meeting David and Sarah on Saturday made the book that much better.
April Thompson
This book made my heart smile. BIG.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Type: {Bedtime Read: lulls you to sleep with sweet dreams}
Rating: {An Unputdownable: Couldn’t eat or sleep until I finished this book}

Why You’re Reading It:

You have children
You like children’s literature
You are a book nut
You and your child enjoy Sarah Stewart and David Small collaborations
You are a caretaker of children (teacher, babysitter, etc.)
What I Thought:

The Library is a picture book collaboration from wife/husband team Sarah Stewart and David Small. Stewart does the writing and her husba
The Library by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small tells the story of Elizabeth Brown who read all the time, even walking to town. It's a tribute to books, reading and generosity.

Small's soft, detailed illustrations are lovely. They extend the humor of someone who collects far too many books. I enjoyed the many cats pictured and the growing collection of books. My favorite images include the cover, dropped from the sky, unpacked her books, vacuuming the floor, volumes climbed, and final im
Eva Leger
Books about books, libraries, reading, etc. are some of my favorites. Kids books about these subjects hold a special place in my heart. Add into that a neat rhyming rhyming story and I'm sold.
Julia said her favorite part was the baby falling from the sky (she only indulges me with these books). Elizabeth Brown reminds me of myself. Apparently Julia felt the same. When Julia saw the amount of books growing and growing on each page she started laughing. I had an inkling what she might be laughing
I love to read to kids, particularly my own, but I also love the opportunity to read to the kids that come into the library. I try (with varying success in the middle of drama rehearsals, karate classes, piano lessons, etc) to read to my kids every night. It doesn’t matter that they are 11 and 16 and perfectly able to read by themselves, there is something about sharing a story aloud and sharing it as a family. Sometimes it’s a picture book, sometimes a classic, sometimes a new juvenile or young ...more
Oct 05, 2013 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 642
1 sentence description
Elizabeth Brown acquires a love for reading early in life and continues to feed her love with more and more books, she does nothing but read and collects so many books that she ends up barricaded in her own home which led her to open a library.

curriculum connection
reading, poetry, rhyming words

personal reaction
I really thought this was a cute story! At first I was thinking that Elizabeth Brown was kind of boring for missing out on so much, but I was soon convinced that sh
Jun 04, 2014 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Inspired by a librarian, this is a fun story for all true bibliophiles. It's also a bit of warning of a sort, because the habit of collecting books can become quite an addicting habit, one that drove Elizabeth Brown out of her own house (this hoarding topic is one for another book, Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things.)

I find that I can help control my urge to collect books by just borrowing them from the library. Any that I happen to pick up along the way, I try to make a pract
This book was okay. I was not sure if it was the book about the real person who created the first library or if it was just written to make students think about the point of a library. I thought it was funny when her books broke the bed. I would read this book during a lesson about sharing or about the importance of books.

Interest Level
Grades K - 2
Reading Level
Grade level Equivalent: 4.5
Lexile Measure: Not Available
DRA: 6
Guided Reading: D
Comedy and Humor
Poetry and Rhymes
Jordan Williams
I kind of laughed during this because my step brother was just like Elizabeth. He read and read and read! It would always upset me because I wanted to play sports while he just read. Now I really see how much he benefited from reading so much. I wish I were more like him growing up, now that I think about it. I would read this as a read aloud for a brain break. I am not sure how I would tie this into a lesson, but I will definitely think about it!
This story would blossom students into lovers of reading. The main character loves and collects books. She eventually decides to open up her personal library to the world. Several great points about reading can be made with this book. First, loving reading is for all ages - even adults. Second, reading is something that's even more fun to do with others. Books have a special impact on people and I get an overwhelming sense of that after reading this book, and I think my students would too.
Kasey O'brien
Elizabeth Brown is every reader's hero. She is born falling from the sky with a book in her hand and essentially continues that way for the rest of her life. In rhyming verses, this book tells the story of one girl who grows up an absolute bibliophile. Much like many avid readers, Elizabeth brown is happy to spend a Friday night curled up with a good book rather than going out with friends or dates, and throughout the story you can see her doing many unusual things (like vacuuming!) while she r ...more
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Different ideas 1 4 Sep 07, 2014 07:46PM  
  • That Book Woman
  • The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians
  • Library Lil
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  • Miss Brooks Loves Books! (And I Don't)
  • The Library Dragon
  • Tomas and the Library Lady
  • Library Lion
  • Book! Book! Book!
  • But Excuse Me That Is My Book
  • The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq
  • Wild About Books
  • Waiting for the Biblioburro
  • Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Anne Carroll Moore Created Libraries for Children
  • Please Bury Me in the Library
  • The Lonely Book
  • Big Red Lollipop
  • Mini Mia and Her Darling Uncle
Wife of famed illustrator, David Small, Sarah Stewart has written a number of children's books. She grew up in Texas, and lives in Michigan with her husband.
More about Sarah Stewart...
The Gardener The Quiet Place The Friend The Journey The Money Tree

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