In Review: The Librarians and the Mother Goose Chase

Greg Cox has created gold like Midas.

The Librarians and the Mother Goose Chase by Greg Cox

Published by Tor Books, April 25, 2017. Paperback of 288 pages at $15.99. Also available as a hardcover at $27.99. 

The cover: Using the image that was featured to promote the second season of the television series, with the copyright to the image held by Ex Libris Holdings, Inc., all the characters are on display. Going clockwise, left to right, is Christian Kane as Jake Stone, Lindy Booth as Cassandra Cillian, John Larroquette as Jenkins, John Harlan Kim as Ezekiel Jones, and Rebecca Romijn as Eve Baird. All five are bursting out of a parchment that contains images of several historic and iconic artifacts. This cover looks great, giving old and new fans teases of what each character can do. Overall grade: A

The premise: From the back cover, “For millennia, the Librarians have secretly protected the world by keeping watch over dangerous magical relics. Cataloging and safeguarding everything from Excalibur to Pandora’s Box, they stand between humanity and those who would use the relics for evil. Stories have power. In 1719, Elizabeth Goose published a collection of rhyming spells as a children’s book, creating a spell book of terrifying power. The Librarian of that age managed to dispose of all the copies of the book, except one, which remained in the possession of Elizabeth Goose and her family, temporarily averting any potential disaster. Now strange things are happening around the world. A tree trimmer in Florida is blown off his elevated perch by a freak gust of wind, a woman in rural Pennsylvania is attacked by mutant rodents without any eyes, and a college professor in England finds herself trapped inside a prize pumpkin at a local farmer’s market. Baird and her team of Librarians suspect that the magic of Mother Goose is again loose in the world, and with Flynn AWOL — again –it is up to Cassandra, Ezekiel, and Stone to track down the missing spell book before the true power of the rhymes can be unleashed.” This is a fantastic summary for one reason — there are no spoilers. This is the setup of the novel for the first two chapters. It tells nothing of what happens for the next twenty-four chapters. It is unbelievably rare for a book not to spoil something that happens late in the novel. It’s just enough to give a perfect taste of what the book is about, and leaves all the reveals for the reader to discover on his or her own. Bravo, Tor Books! Overall grade: A+

The characters: Eve Baird isn’t a Librarian, she’s their assigned Protector. She does all that she can to insure that the Librarians are safe, using her military training for any advantage in any situation. She’s the first character in the novel to encounter Mother Goose and things don’t go well. Later in the book she works with Jenkins to stop something from rampaging through the Library. She’s smart, good in a fight, and always ready to leap into action. Jenkins, the caretaker of the Annex, is prim and proper, keeping the Librarians up to date with any information he’s learned and keeping the Library safe. The first Librarian is Jake Stone, art expert, as well as an expert in many other areas. He ends up teaming with a professor in the North Country of England. Of all the characters of the novel, his character gets the most development because of whom he’s teamed with. Ezekiel Jones, a tech expert and thief, is the second Librarian and he’s out of his element working with a much older and much more common librarian in Ohio. Most of the comedy of the book comes from his adventures and comments. The mathematical expert, Cassandra Cillian, is the final Librarian and she has a great adventure set in Miami in an unsettling structure. It was neat to see how this building created obstacles for her and her companion. All of these heroes are against the individual claiming to be Mother Goose, who possesses abilities that are found in the classic rhymes. The dangers she creates are fun in how the famous lines are twisted into terrible threats. Each character was engaging and fun. Overall grade: A

The settings: Author Greg Cox has described his settings so well that they are very easy to picture. The Annex and the Library are familiar locations to those who’ve seen the movies or television shows, but even to readers who haven’t experienced them, they are extremely vivid — almost to the point where I felt I could have drawn out a map of where Eve was in the Library. Ohio features a visit to a farm, a town library, and a state fair. A bar is the first location in England, and I can’t reveal what the second setting is because it is a key component to the story (but it is very cool!). Miami’s locations begin in an expected locale, but end up in a fantastic structure that was twisted and absolutely pertinent to the plot. Each of these settings rang so true, I felt as though I was experiencing an unaired episode. Overall grade: A

The action: Mother Goose is not an entity that one associates with darkness, but Cox has done a truly exceptional job in making all the obstacles in this story true to their source material and deliciously deadly. I found myself chuckling at how the nursery rhymes could be distorted into such deviousness. Jenkins warns the Librarians and the readers on Pages 40 – 41 about the dangers they present, and he’s correct on all counts. Saying what these warped obstacles are would ruin their surprise, suffice to say they are outstanding. Overall grade: A+ 

The conclusion: What Mother Goose intends to do with the book is a sensational threat and the battle at the end of the novel to stop her plans is great. The Librarians are split up, battling differing threats, with one character solving the danger in a way that is absolutely in line with The Librarians’ episodes. Overall grade: A

The final line: Recommended for fans of the show or anyone who hasn’t seen an episode and wants to get a taste of one. The action is all-ages great, the characters fun, and the twists and turns make this a book that can’t be put down. Greg Cox has created gold like Midas. Overall grade: A

To purchase a print or digital copy go to

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
    No Comment