Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

CommonSense Star Rating

Common Sense Media | Mary Eisenhart

Common Sense Media Says

Fun Mystery About Kids Locked In Library By Wacky Genius.


Quality:CommonSense Star Rating

Publisher's recommended age(s):   9-12

Publisher:   Random House Children's Books

Publication Date:   June 24, 2013

Author(s):   Chris Grabenstein

Number of Pages:   224

Genre:   Mystery

What Parents need to know

Parents need to know that even readers as reluctant as protagonist Kyle will see libraries in a new light as they follow his adventures in Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein, co-author with James Patterson of I Funny: A Middle School Story. Solving riddles, working out puzzles, and navigating the Dewey Decimal System all play a role in this fun tale, not to mention homages to everything from The Phantom Tollbooth and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to reality TV, and dozens of book references designed to delight kids who already know them and entice those who don't. Mean kids get their comeuppance; friendship, ingenuity, and teamwork are big here, as are Kyle's gaming skills. Occasional brief mentions of a video game involving crashes as well as flying -- and sometimes flaming -- squirrels that bite their victims on the butt.

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What's the story?

If it's a game, 12-year-old Kyle Keeley loves it. Books, not so much. But when he learns that his hero, eccentric-genius game developer Luigi Lemoncello, has funded an over-the-top, media-rich, interactive library for their hometown, he's thrilled to be one of a dozen kids invited to the grand opening. Things get even more interesting as the party winds down and Mr. Limoncello announces a contest: The kids are locked in, and have to come up with an ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO'S LIBRARY. An awesome prize hangs in the balance. The library itself has many clues.

Is it any good?CommonSense Star Rating

An award-winning author of adult mysteries and collaborator with James Patterson on middle-school fiction, Chris Grabenstein spins a captivating tale that will keep kids turning the pages and often give them -- and their parents reading along -- the giggles. The kid characters will resonate with young readers, who'll probably get plenty of ideas for new books and other interesting info to check out.

Explore, discuss, enjoy

  • Families can talk about libraries in their lives. What were they like when parents and grandparents were kids, and what are they like now? If you visit your local library, what do you like about it?

  • Do you think playing games helps you learn? How?

  • Why do you think stories about people who have to solve a problem, and have to decide whether to compete or cooperate, are so popular? Can you think of other examples?