As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

April 25, 2012


A hero with an incredible talent...for breaking things. A life-or-death rescue a bag of sand. A fearsome threat from a powerful secret network...the evil Librarians. Alcatraz Smedry doesn't seem destined for anything but disaster. On his 13th birthday he receives a bag of sand, which is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians plotting to take over the world. The sand will give the Librarians the edge they need to achieve world domination. Alcatraz must stop them! infiltrating the local library, armed with nothing but eyeglasses and a talent for klutziness. (Goodreads)

Review by Emily, high school student and bibliophile

Oh, this book makes me laugh until I cry. Aside from its being hilarious, it is also odd, and a little bit alarming.

It is about a boy who breaks things. He has made breaking things into a true art. He can do it with elan, and a little bit of strangeness. He has, it is rumored, broken a chicken. Truly, he can break anything. And his name is Al. Not Al as in Albert or Alfred or Alonzo, but Al as in Alcatraz. As in the prison. His parents must have been rather sadistic to name a child Alcatraz.
When the story begins, it makes no sense. As it goes on . . . well, it still makes no sense, but you begin to see a hint of method to the madness. Except for, perhaps, the beginnings of the chapters. They make no sense at all. They are not supposed to, but they are funny all the same.
In any case, this book does not make sense (and has no intention of doing so,) but it is funny, as is the author's blurb in the back of it. As long as you are not looking for a deep and hidden meaning, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is a wonderful book to read. It goes by quickly, because while I was reading it, I was so immersed that I often lost track of time. I also made odd noises, apparently, prompting many questions like, "Are you all right?" and "What is the matter with you - or that book?"
There is nothing the matter with either me or the book. It is simply impossible to read it without occasional snorts of derision or amusement. Sometimes both. Because it truly is an odd book, and one well worth reading.

Market: Children's Fiction
Language: None
Sensuality: None
Violence: Mild
Mature Themes: Abandonment, responsibility

Book Formats:


MKHutchins said...

I love these books! In fact, I love them so much, that when I opened this page, I thought I must have written a review of it until I saw Emily's name (yes, my memory's that good). I love the spiffy magic system. I love the gun-toting anthropologist. These books get me to laugh when a laugh's what I really need. I'm glad someone else loves them, too!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love the Alcatraz books! I love the way every person in his family has an awkward Talent that the Free Kingdomers thinks is a wonderful superpower - and I love seeing how they use them as just that. And I both hate and love the beginnings of the chapters. They're infuriating, but I never skip a single one (no matter how random they seem), because 9 times out of 10, Alcatraz is using them to make a point of some sort, even if you don't catch it your first (or third) time through. I hope the fifth book comes out soon. I would really like to see if Al ever does end up on that altar made out of outdated encyclopedias he mentions at the beginning of book 1.