The Library of Ever, by Zeno Alexander, for Timeslip Tuesday

The Library of Ever, by Zeno Alexander (Macmillan, April 30 2019), is a fun fantasy for younger middle grade readers that happens to include a nice bit of time travel in its adventures.

Lenora has been in left in the care of an inattentive and uninterested nanny while her parents are off travelling, and mostly she's bored.  But one day the chance comes to give the nanny a slip at the library, and Lenora escapes to try to find the children's section.  Instead, she finds the opportunity of a life time--a doorway into a marvelous magical library of every book in existence.  Lenora becomes a Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian, and is determined to rise through the ranks as quickly as possible.

Her first assignment is to help patrons at the calendar desk, and her first customer is a time travelling robot from the year 8000.  Lenora agrees to travel to the future with the robot to settle a calendrical catastrophe, and she does so in fine intelligent style (and I learned more about leap years!).    Other adventures ensue with different branches of the library, pleasantly episodic, full of quirky details (tardigrades launching themselves into space, for instance, and why not?), and more or less self-contained, reminding me a bit of Edward Eager's books.

All is not fun and games in this great library, though.  The librarians are dedicated to preserving and sharing the light of learning, but there are those working on the side of darkness, who want to suppress knowledge.  Lenora is menaced by agents of the darkness during several assignments, and at the end barely escapes from them.  But to her disappointment, this escapes lands her back in the normal, real-world library.   Only a bit of time travelling help from the robot of her first adventure let her get away, and that bit of time travelling also gives her hope that she'll make it back again.

Fun and detailed adventures, with a strong pro-library, pro-knowledge message (not at all subtle, but certainly worthy), make this a fast, pleasant (and for young readers, even thought-provoking) read.

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