Able To 'Shush' All Buildings With A Single Sound?

SEATTLE - What does it take to become one of the hottest selling items in Archie McPhee's history? A little plastic, a book truck, and a knack for "shushing" people.

The idea was born innocently enough.

"I was at a dinner party with the owner of 'Archie McPhee,' and he was telling us that people were writing in to say that the 'Jesus' action figure was performing miracles in their lives," says Seattle resident Nancy Pearl. "And I said 'But Mark, you know the people who really perform miracles everyday are librarians.' "

The proverbial light bulb "lit up."

"We all fell off our chairs laughing, because it just seemed the height of ridiculousness," Pearl recalls.

That was nearly three years ago. Today, the librarian action figure based on the likeness of Nancy Pearl is in hot demand. And since action figures have to have an action, they picked the obvious: A "shushing" action.

You know, one finger to the lips, followed by the sound of a tire loosing air?

In the time since the doll's debut, Nancy has left her post at the Seattle Library, and is now an author. She travels around the world promoting her book "Book Lust," and her newest title, "More Book Lust."

Oh yeah, and she also gets pictures from around the world, featuring the action figure that features her likeness.

"The action figure was at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, 'shushing' the tourists as they go into the temple," Pearl tells KOMO 1000 News.

Down at Archie McPhee's, store manager Shana Iverson is still in shock.

"We had no idea," Iverson says. "We've never had a reaction like this, including Jesus! Before that (release of the librarian action figure), Jesus had been our biggest action figure."

They see a lot of library folk in the store.

"You can almost spot them when they come in, because a lot of them look like the Nancy Pearl action figure," Iverson says with a laugh.

So what's next for Nancy Pearl? More tours, probably more books, and more funny looks.

"One new librarian came up to me and she said 'I got nine action figures for graduation presents.' And I said 'Oh good, now you can start a baseball team of librarian action figures,' " Pearl recalls with a chuckle.

And of the original wasn't enough, the new "Deluxe" librarian action figure is now available, and Nancy Pearl will be autographing it Sunday at Archie McPhee's in Ballard.

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