Monday, November 08, 2010

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

Library pages are the unsung heroes of the information world. 

Think about it.  You go to the library, you check out a book, you bring it back a few weeks later.  You're done. But somebody has to get that book back on the shelf.  That somebody is a library page.

Being a page is a thankless, repetitive task.  Back in my paging days, I would curse the future nurses of the world, as they routinely made a mess of the medical journals at my community college library.  Also earning my ire in my days as a page: Latin professors, police academy candidates, and anyone who needed to use the microfilm reader. 

Elizabeth Rew is a page too, but her day to day work is a little more interesting than re-alphabetizing the dinosaur picture books.  She is a page at the New York Circulating Material Repository, a library that loans objects instead of books.  Need a doublet for your Shakespeare production?  You can check it out.  Want an antique chess set for your afternoon game?  It's here.  Marie Antoinette's wig?  Check.  Specimens from every time period and culture can be found at the Repository.  

The Repository is also home to more fantastic items, like the Wicked Queen's Mirror, Seven League Boots and the Dancing Princesses' Slippers.  These items live in the Grimm Collection, a gathering of magical objects straight out of fairy tales.  Even better, pages can sometimes check magical items out of the Collection.  Of course, you have to leave a deposit, like your sense of direction or your first born child. 

Another benefit of working at the Repository is the other pages.  Elizabeth has had a hard time fitting in at her new school, but now she has friends, including basketball stud Marc Merritt.     Her step-mom is super cheap, expecting her to wear her stepsisters' hand-me-downs, but now she has money of her own.   Everything would be great -- if only things weren't getting weird at the Repository.

Not to long ago, a page was fired for switching valuable items for fakes.  And now it seems that someone is doing the same thing with the magical items as well.  Elizabeth and her friends find themselves in the middle of a fairy-tale theft operation, complete with enchanted princesses, flying carpets and mystical keys.

As a former page, and a lover of old fairy tales, I couldn't wait to read The Grimm Legacy.  And I wasn't disappointed, as there's lots of adventure and action, a little romance, and some fun characters. Shulman drops some tantalizing hints about other collections at the Repository, so hopefully, Elizabeth and her friends will be paging for some time to come.  

No comments: