Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library Paperback – June 24, 2014
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A New York Times Bestseller
"Discover the coolest library in the world."—James Patterson
"Lots of Action and quirky humor."—The Washington Post
* "A worthy successor to the original madman puzzle-master himself, Willy Wonka."—Booklist, Starred
* "A winner for readers and game-players alike."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred
* "A fun-filled, suspenseful intellectual puzzle."—Shelf Awareness, Starred
"Will have readers racing to pick up the next volume."—School Library Journal
About the Author
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Even though I'm only in my early teens, I've read some truly amazing books in my short lifetime and this sadly won't make the cut. Things like Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice, The Ramona series by Beverly Cleary (did I spell that right?) and Anne of Green Gables are some of my all time favourites. Spot the difference between this drivel and those classics.
This is just too "updated" for my taste and I don't get why a book this supposedly talks about the joy of reading has the main character as an uninterested "cool, popular kid" who likes to play video games and has never picked up a book in his life. The endless talk of technology got boring and the farting robotic geese made me question my friend's approval. I finished the book with a *at least that's over* sigh.
The reason this gets 2 stars is because I can see how this would appeal to reluctant readers. And, of course, the main theme being "reading books is good" (along with "don't be a jerk" and "having friends is good") derserves a star itself.
Don't hold the fact against him that Mr. Grabenstein used to write in James Patterson's book factory. We found this book to be an absolutely delightful, engaging read. Grabenstein is clearly big on libraries as centers of discovery, learning and community. Twelve twelve-year-olds, who have never been in a library due to their town's library being torn down twelve years ago, compete to go to the grand opening of Mr. Lemoncello's library. Once there, they find themselves locked in and are told that their goal is to use the library and all its resources to discover a hidden exit for a grand prize. Mr. Lemoncello is a great game-maker and some of the clues come from his games, while others come from the ten Dewey Decimal Rooms, a holographic librarian and holographic creatures, and pictograms hidden in books.
Grabenstein cleverly reinforces the idea that reading is, itself, a rewarding activity, and those who take time to focus on the process are rewarded more than those who try to take short cuts. He also emphasizes such values as loyalty, team-work, and respect. Titles of many famous children's books are sprinkled throughout Mr. Lemoncello's conversations and the clues. There is also a puzzle not in the story that can be solved and sent into Mr. Grabenstein for a chance to win two libraries of books. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is a fast read. Mr. Grabenstein also does a very good job of creating distinct characters. None of the kids feels like a carbon copy of the other; they're all fleshed out in ways that help you get a sense of what motivates them.
Top international reviews
I really liked adventuring along with the kids in the library! There intelligence amazed me. xD Sierra made me a little jealous with her knowledge of books and authors! I loved Kyle - he reminded me so much of Charlie in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Migual was great... so nerdy. Haley kind of annoyed me at the beginning but I grew to like her near the end. Charles was irritating and stuck-up… that's about all I can say about him. Andrew was just... well, babyish. ;p
I loved every minute it of this book and I REALLY want to read the other books in this series. Mr. Lemoncello is a nut... so much like Willy Wonka! It's a super easy read and it'll grab you clear at the beginning!
Do I recommend this? Yep, totally!
There are a few swear words.
The book is funny, heartwarming and engaging. I flew through the chapters eager to find out the next challenge (and add another title to my TBR) and see how the characters would react. The 12 kids who begin the challenge are quickly whittled down to a hardcore few that are a varied and interesting bunch. Led by Kyle they are determined not to give up. Whilst I was sure their resilience would pay-off, it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book. A great story that I would recommend to any MG readers.
Sometimes feels too clearly written by an adult, with knowledge and references that there is no way the target audience or book characters would know.
I think they'll be fighting over who reads it first!
I would recommend it to anyone 8+
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