eBook Review: ABC Letters in the Library

I hate that this book is one of the first that new eBook readers may encounter. I’m sure many well-intentioned caregivers will click on the cute image of children in the stacks and see the blurb that begins:

“This lovingly written, playfully illustrated book introduces children to both the alphabet and the library, through wonderfully descriptive, alliterative language.”

Oh! It’s written with love! It contains library stuff, alphabet stuff and alliterative language stuff!

It’s a pile of elephant doody. School Library Journal gave it a passable review, but I think the reviewer was just being nice because it’s a book about libraries. My tingling librarian senses are telling me that the quality of eBooks is going to continue to be an issue. Any old ninny/publisher can put their junk up and call it an eBook without the quality control that (sometimes) comes from being part of a huge evil corporation, which truly is the Beauty and the Beast of the thing. There aren’t a whole lot of purveyors of fine eBooks for kids yet, so libraries that are trying to keep astride with eBook technology are limited in what they can offer.

Some highlights from Bonnie Farmer and Chum McLeod’s ABC Letters in the Library:

“Aisles of authors are arranged alphabetically”

This is only MOSTLY true, except for things arranged by a little something called the Dewey Decimal System. And in series of books that have different authors. And board books, because, why bother? And other pull-out collections that are arranged by genre/format first before author. But those things don’t rhyme. Badly. Like this book does.

“Humming computers collect countless call numbers.”

Um…. what? There is an illustration of computers doing karaoke. I have no response to that. 

“The librarians soft shhhhhh soon hushes all talk”

Excuse me? Has the author even BEEN to the children’s section of a public library recently? And who is this super librarian who can ACTUALLY “hush all talk” with a “soft shhhhh?” Anyone who has ever worked with children, or talked to a child, or even talked to someone who has talked to a child knows that ain’t gonna fly.

“Information flows freely in and out of the Internet”

Yes! The information flows freely through the interwebs! In a book about libraries, don’t you think it would be better to highlight some other source for authenticated information? Kids KNOW about the internet. Let’s talk about Indexes! Interlibrary Loan! Intellectual Freedom!

(Initially I made a crack about how “freely” EBSCO and Gale flow through the internet, but decided against it. Then decided to include it parenthetically. All you collection developers crying over your budgets out there, can I get a AMEN?)

“Teachers tsk at loud teens who grin and then shrug”

Security! Escort that tsking teacher OUT of my library this instant. Loud teens? Come on over to the teen area! We love that you’re here at the library! Is this a good time for you guys to meet here? Shall we start a gaming club? Teen Advisory Board? Knitting group? Want a good book to read now that the Twicraze is coming to a badly needed end? Need to get some community service hours? What about some help studying for the PSAT? Turn that shrug upside down, future tax payer. Welcome to the library. YOUR library.


Posted on November 30, 2011, in Android, eBook, Review, TumbleBooks. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Ugh! Too many paper books get published that are like that. Too bad it's even easier to get this caliber writing in ebook format. Lola at the Library is much better. Nobody shhhh's any more! Do they? Inside voices & walking feet is the harshest I go but you have to repeat these things 5 million times before it sinks in. The best part about NOT shhhing is when a kid you helped use inside voices, walking feet, and "here don't you want to look at this book for 5 min so I can help another patron?" comes in as a teen an STILL asks you for "good books".Hey we rode the Twicoaster for a little while but then we had the good sense to dust of the glitter and move on. Wait, I need the glitter back but you can give the vampire to someone else.

  2. I have a confession to make. And I can make it here because it's an old post and no one will read this anyway. My name is Cen, and I loved the Twicraze. Those books were like candy. And they sparked a huge surge in the popularity of creative, dark, supernatural, romantic teen books. House of Night? AWESOME! Blue Bloods? AWESOME! I can own it! My name is Cen, and I love vampires and glitter.

  3. After all- the feeling remains even after the glitter fades. Am I right, Amber?

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