Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

ChildrenEscape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
Chris Grabenstein; Random House 2013

Games – video games, board games, logic games, racing games, scavenger hunts , any type of games – Kyle Keeley and his family love games. He especially likes the games from Mr. Lemoncello’s company. Mr. Lemoncello lived in Kyle’s town before he started his game company. He grew up in the library. Now Mr. Lemoncello has funded a new, state-of-art library after the old one had been closed for twelve years.

Kyle and his friend Akimi are two of twelve 12-year-olds who wins an overnight stay before the library opens. The next morning the children are locked in. They are offered an chance to win a larger prize if they follow the clues to a mystery and get to the end first before the library opens the next day. Some of the kids leave for different reasons – responsibilities, commitments, or lack of interest. But Kyle and Akimi stay, along with some others, including Haley the popular cheerleader and Charles, the rich snob kid who will do anything to win, including cheat.

The library has books – and computers – and video games – and holograms – and a replica of Mr. Lemoncello’s bedroom from when he was a child – and movies – and a cafeteria – and more. The children use all the marvels available to follow the clues for them to solve to escape from this fantastic library.

As a librarian, I know the value of a library. As a reader, I know the joy of a library. Fortunately I was able to pass that appreciation to my daughters and now my granddaughters. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library shows children the fun and importance of the library. It’s not just a place of  homework study, but a community center that includes books and programs.

Chris Grabenstein writes a wonderful book that pulls the chapter book reader in and shows a world of real magic. My 10-year-old granddaughter was immediately caught into Kyle’s trouble when he is grounded at the beginning of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.

Grabenstein uses all the modern technology available in this library, from hard copy books to a virtual information desk. The kids in the story come to life as they run around figuring out the clues without letting their opponents know what they figured out.

If you know a child in this age group who will enjoy the fun, give them Grabenstein’s book. But the adult will also be glad to read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.

(The most unexpected program I’ve seen at my library? A flamenco dancing demonstration.)

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