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Friday, August 26, 2011

Miss Dorothy and her Bookmobile, written by Gloria Houston and illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb. Harper, 2011. $18.99 ages 4 and up

"Finally, one bright spring day,
Dorothy graduated,
ready to be a librarian
in a fine brick library
just like the one in the center
of the square
in her hometown."

Dorothy loves books and people, and is willing to loan her books to friends so that they might find the delight in them that she does. She is destined to be a librarian. Where better than her own town library? It's her plan; but the execution of that plan does not have the result imagined.

That being the case, Dorothy will ply her trade elsewhere:

"Her new husband wanted to move to a farm
in a land she had only seen on maps
but had read about in books,
a land of high blue mountains,
with deep green valleys
and cascading streams
splashing silver,
shaded with oak, maple, and fir,
at the base of high Mount Mitchell
in the Blue Ridge Mountains
of North Carolina."

While her new life turns to green gardens, new friends and endless time for reading, there is no library and nowhere for Miss Dorothy to be the librarian she is trained to be. An elderly man in the community remembers a time when there was a visiting library, taken 'from place to place in wooden crates on an oxen wagon'. Dorothy cannot conceive of such a thing. But, determination wills out. The people of her town collect money to buy a bookmobile and make Dorothy the librarian.

The die is cast and Dorothy finds satisfaction in a job well done, instilling in her friends and clients a love of books. While it may not have been her dream come true, she leads a life of wonder and satisfaction with the people of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Of Miss Dorothy, Gloria Houston has this to say:

"Dorothy Thomas was one of my heroes as a child. Her little green van with a fresh batch of books would arrive every two weeks at the store my family operated. During alternate weeks, she would drive into the school yard. I checked out new books from her every week!"

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