Mental Floss

18 Retro Reviews of Children's Books from the New York Public Library

Hannah Keyser
Instagram User, NYPL
Instagram User, NYPL / Instagram User, NYPL
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Last year, New York Public Library staffers discovered a lost treasure:  Nearly 6400 old note cards containing 20th century librarians’ reviews of the children's books that filled the library’s stacks.

The review system was never intended for public consumption. Instead, it served as a tool for intra-office dialogue. "It was just a way for staff to say 'here's what I thought of this book,'” says Lynn Lobash, manager of Readers Services. “And then other staff could come and look at the book and see what their colleagues had thought and decide whether they want to use it in a story time, or for whatever it was.”

Archivists have since stashed the reviews away for safekeeping, but not before the library’s delightful Instagram feed shared some highlights. Here are our favorites.

1. Tales of the Unexpected, Roald Dahl

2. On the Way Home, Laura Ingalls Wilder

3. The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton

4. Forever, Judy Blume

5. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle

6. Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton

7. The Grox And the Eugene, David Perry

8. Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss

9. Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Cameron Crowe

10. Let's Go Logging, George Herman

11. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Rudyard Kipling

12. The Fifth Garfield Treasury, Jim Davis

13. Find Waldo Now, Martin Handforth

14. The Snow Queen, Hans Christian Andersen. Two reviews of the book that became Frozen.

15. Hunches in Bunches, Dr. Seuss

16. Reading Skills, Marilyn Berry

17. Inspector Gadget in Africa, Sandra Beris

18. Sam and Violet's Birthday Book, Nicole Rubel

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