I was fortunate enough to hear Chris Grabenstein speak about his book at an event at Books of Wonder. Wow! He was totally into the kids in the audience – as he should be – and he was a great advertisement for his book, funny and warmhearted. That said, it’s taken me a while to get around to reading Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.
More fool me! Not only did my daughter laugh her way through it but the kids at my school library kept it off the shelves for most of the year. And if that’s not a good recommendation, I don’t know what is. EFMLL is fast-paced, full of literary and library winks, and even has a hidden puzzle for you to solve. What could be better?
Kyle Keeley finds himself grounded and in need of a way to play his beloved video games when his best friend reminds him of the essay contest for the new library’s grand opening. Twelve kids will win an overnight of fun in the town’s brand-new library, designed by the master of games himself, Mr. Lemoncello (in thanks for his own wonderful experiences in the previous library, torn down to make way for parking lots).
After a wonderful time exploring and experiencing the delights of the new library, Kyle and his friends (and an enemy, you know there has to be one) are given the opportunity to compete to see who can make their way out of the library first – a real-life and larger than life game from Mr. Lemoncello.
Kyle and the other children are believable and individual characters, and Grabenstein’s love of libraries and literature shines through in the many books mentioned and its homage to classic such as Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. There’s also plenty of real information about libraries scattered throughout. And while you can just enjoy the story, you can also follow the clues yourself to solve the puzzle (with a little something extra at the end)!
Whether you love libraries and reading or puzzles and games or just a good adventure story, grab this book!