Midnight at the Library (Ursula Dubosarsky illus by Ron Brooks, NLA)
This outstanding book by two acclaimed Australian creators is thought-provoking and informative. Ursula Dubosarsky’s text, combined with Ron Brooks’ illustrations, refers to the fascinating story of books—how they are created, preserved and connected to wider society and culture—highlighted by the story of one particularly special book that the library discovered and added to its collection. Additionally, the midnight setting adds an element of intrigue and air of mystery as two children explore the many treasures of the library. The text—which stays descriptive and engaging throughout—takes the reader through the library, inside its many rooms and past shelves full of books, until the children reach the little book made of gold. The superb illustrations expand the story of the special book with visual references to pivotal moments throughout the history of books and printing. These include the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg, and book burnings during the Nazi era. The illustrations also pay homage to several master artists, like Escher and Van Gogh, depicting scenes full of bright colours and movement, alongside labyrinthine library interiors. Lastly, the endpapers featuring shelves full of books are spectacular. The book has been published to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Library of Australia and ‘the role of libraries everywhere as custodians of history, heritage and imagination’. Highly recommended for all ages.
Margaret Hamilton AM is a former children’s book publisher. She is now proprietor of Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage in Blackheath, NSW