Legend of Spud MurphyTitle: Legend of Spud Murphy
Author: Eoin Colfer
ISBN: 0786855010
Pages: 95 pages
Publisher/Date: Hyperion Books for Children, c2004.

“Don’t make us join the library,” Marty begged. “It’s too dangerous.”
“Dangerous? How could a library be dangerous?” Dad asked.
“It’s no the library,” Marty whispered. “It’s the librarian.”
“Mrs. Murphy?” said Mom. “She’s a lovely old lady.”…
“She has a spud gun under her desk,” added Marty. “A gas-powered one that takes an entire potato in the barrel. She shoots kids with it if they make a noise in the library. That’s why we call her Spud Murphy.” (8-12)

Will and Marty Woodman are the oldest of five brothers. When their parents get tired of the yelling and the war paint, they send Marty and Will to the library for a more educational use of their time. While there, they get banished to the children’s carpet, where one step off sends Mrs. Murphy to their side. Eventually they start to enjoy the books that they find, but what happens when they’ve read all the books in the children’s section? How will they pass the six hours every week, without facing the wrath of the spud gun?

It’s an amusing short story and a very fast read. I wish there was a little more to the story itself, especially considering the depth and drama contained in the Artemis Fowl series. The characters are predictable to me at least, with the “and they all lived happily ever after” ending. Mrs. Murphy’s handling of the two kids however is wonderfully funny. When Marty mixes up the books, Mrs. Murphy tells him “You get these in order by the time your mother comes to pick you up, and maybe I won’t have to tell her how you set off the fire alarms. … I know you didn’t, and I’m sure your mother will believe that. Unless, of course, you’ve been in trouble before.” (42) This is definitely what we see happening at my library, with parents dropping their kids off and kids thinking we are out to get them. Definitely relatable characters for the younger set, but the teens from Artemis Fowl following will be disappointed.