The Lost Library by Rebecca Stead & Wendy Mass

Our Rating
Author: Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

Category: Children's, Teachers Resources

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: Text Publishing

ISBN: 9781922790477

RRP: $19.99

In 1999, long before Evan was born, the public library in Martinville burnt down. Because it was a fatal fire causing the deaths of the librarian, Ms Scoggin, and one of the patrons, Mr Brock, it had never been rebuilt. The plot was now just an overgrown block.

But one morning, a little free street library appears. It has been made out of an old library cart which was rescued from the fire and inside are old library books which were on it at the time.

Evan grabs two books from the cart, unaware of their importance in solving the mystery of the cause of the fire and how it involves his family.

Meanwhile, the Martinville History House has three ghostly residents and their cat, Mortimer, who have lived there since the fire. Mortimer was the library’s cat so when the library cart with its remnant books is set up outside by one of the ghosts, he takes it upon himself to stay there and guard it.

The story is told by several different voices – Evan, Mortimer, and the third ghostly resident AL (abbreviated from Assistant Librarian). Solving the mystery of how the fire really started, what Evan’s Dad had to do with it, and who the crime writer H G Higgins really is, is all solved within a few days. And here is where the storyline falters.

Despite the lovely theme of the importance of books and libraries in The Lost Library, the gaps in logic and the implausibility of some aspects of the plot, especially at the end, mars an otherwise enjoyable middle grade mystery with fantasy elements.

Reviewed by Lynne Babbage

Age Guide 9+



Rebecca Stead, children's authorRebecca Stead is the New York Times bestselling author of When You Reach Me, Liar & Spy, First Light, Goodbye Stranger, Bob, and, most recently, The List of Things That Will Not Change. Her books have been awarded the Newbery Medal, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Fiction and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. Rebecca lives in New York City, where she is always on the lookout for her next story idea.


Wendy Mass, children's authorWendy Mass is the New York Times bestselling author of 22 novels for young readers including The Candymakers. Wendy lives in New Jersey, USA.

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