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The Bookshop Girl

Review

The Bookshop Girl

Written by Sylvia Bishop Illustrated by Poly Bernatene

At first glance it may seem like Property Jones has several strikes against her. Abandoned by her parents at a bookstore and saddled with the name Property by her adoptive brother and mother, she has a big secret. The Jones family all loves books. Property’s mother Netty runs the White Hart bookshop and she and Property’s brother Michael adore reading all sorts of books. The secret is that Property can’t read and what otherwise might be a handicap, turns out, in Sylvia Bishop’s sweet chapter book THE BOOKSHOP GIRL to be what saves the Jones’ family and one of the most fantastic fictional book shops ever imagined.

"THE BOOKSHOP GIRL is a sweet tale....Bishop’s style is fun and clever and the black and white illustrations by Poly Bernatene help bring Property’s story to life."

When Albert H. Montgomery decides to raffle off ownership of his Great Montgomery Book Emporium, the Jones family enters the contest. Though they love the White Hart, the Emporium offers financial security that the cozy White Hart does not. Amazingly, they win the contest and leave the White Hart, the only home Property knows. While the Emporium is fantastic, a bookworm’s dream, it soon becomes apparent that something is not on the up and up with Montgomery. The first night of Emporium ownership Emporium ownership is a time for exploration and amazement, as well as hanging out with a grumpy kitten named Gunther. The first day of Emporium ownership finds Property and her family busy serving customers. Property notices a shabbily dressed man lurking in the store. He is Eliot Pink and he is looking for Montgomery. Pink claims that Montgomery owes him money for a valuable manuscript by Shakespeare. As new owners of the Emporium and with Montgomery fled for Spain (or is it Italy?), the Joneses are responsible for the debt. Pink, along with a hired crew called the Wollups, starts clearing out all the books from the Emporium and the Jones family is facing impoverishment and homelessness. But, the very thing that Property is ashamed of, her illiteracy, has fostered in her a strong set of observational skills and mindfulness that are just what her family needs to save the Emporium and secure a happy future. By recognizing Eliot Pink’s scam for what it is, and for bravely working against it, Property Jones becomes a hero and lets her family in on her secret, learning they will always love her for who she is.

THE BOOKSHOP GIRL is a sweet tale of honesty, adventure, self-confidence and familial love. Bishop’s style is fun and clever and the black and white illustrations by Poly Bernatene help bring Property’s story to life. Though there are some obvious plot flaws and lingering questions, younger readers will most likely overlook them as they wonder at the Emporium, long for the White Hart, and find themselves enchanted with Property and her family and thrilled with her growth and accomplishments.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on October 25, 2018

The Bookshop Girl
Written by Sylvia Bishop Illustrated by Poly Bernatene

  • Publication Date: October 1, 2018
  • Genres: Education, Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 135 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
  • ISBN-10: 9781682630457
  • ISBN-13: 978-1682630457