Grabenstein, Chris. 2013. ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375870897 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-8]
Grabenstein’s latest novel is a witty treasure hunt filled with literary references. When famous game maker, Mr. Lemoncello, hosts an essay contest for all the 12 year olds in town to attend the grand opening of his new library, Kyle Keeley dreams of being selected as one of the lucky winners. Along with his friends Akimi and Miguel, Kyle wins one of the coveted spots to the private lock-in. Once they arrive, the kids discover there is another game. Whoever can escape the library in 24 hours will star in the game company’s holiday commercials. Their library cards and the library staff, including a holographic image of Mr. Lemoncello’s childhood librarian, will help them find everything they need to win.
Kyle’s talent at winning board games comes in handy as his team races against the clock to solve the riddle of the library by drawing on their past experiences playing Mr. Lemoncello’s puzzles combined with their knowledge of literature and the Dewey decimal system. Working together, the team uncovers the secret exit to the library and Kyle even discovers a new love of reading along the way.
The author’s note after the story claims the game isn’t really finished. The book contains a clue about a mysterious puzzle that wasn’t solved by Kyle’s team. Readers are encouraged to email their solutions to the author.
This is a fun book for reviewing research skills without even trying. Divide students into groups to see who can find the most literary references in the story.
Other library adventure books:
Kerrin, Jessica Scott. THE SPOTTED DOG LAST SEEN. ISBN 9781554983872
Scieszka, Jon. SUMMER READING IS KILLING ME! 9780142401156
By Kimberly C. Kinnaird