Elizabeth Varadan | The Children’s Book Review | December 29, 2014
By Chris Grabenstein
Hardcover: 304 pages
Age Range: 8 to 12
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (June 2013)
What to expect: Mysteries and clues at every turn, surprising twists, a few scary moments, and lots of laughs.
This puzzle mystery is like a Mad Magazine version of The Westing Game. Kyle Keeley and eleven other kids are selected—on the basis of their essays, “Why I’m excited About the New Public Library”—to be locked overnight in the new public library. Why should Kyle be excited? There will be movies, food, prizes, computers, Wi-Fi, and games, in addition to all the books. And the new library was financed by billionaire Luigi Lemoncello, the inventor of most of Kyle’s favorite games.
But the multi-floor library, built in stages by different crews, holds secrets. Once inside, the twelve essay winners find they are on a strange sort of treasure hunt to find the way out, which is not the way they came in. For those who want to stay and play the game, the winner will star in all of Lemoncello’s holiday game promotions.
“Kyle pushed back from the table. He could see the shadowy figure of the bulky security guard slinking away from the round desk at the center of the rotunda. He left behind a stack of books.”
What follows is madcap competition as the kids search bookrooms based on the Dewey Decimal system, examine mysterious library cards, solve rebuses, compare assigned readings, and encounter holograms of authors who offer timely tips. Several situations mirror situations and rules in Mr. Lemoncello’s famous games. Clues involve references to famous books, including Mr. Lemoncello’s sly quips whenever he makes an appearance. And Kyle, who has always liked games more than books, finds himself compiling a mental To Be Read list, as he and his friends try to find the mysterious exit.
This book will appeal to readers who like puzzles and games, surprises, and humor.
Add this book to your collection: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
About Chris Grabenstein
Chris Grabenstein is an award-winning author of books for children and adults, a playwright, screenwriter, and former advertising executive and improvisational comedian. Winner of two Anthony and three Agatha Awards, he is also the co-author with James Patterson of The New York Times bestseller I FUNNY.
A former writer for Jim Henson’s Muppets and past president of the New York Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, Chris co-wrote the screenplay for the CBS-TV movie, The Christmas Gift, starring John Denver.
He lives in New York City with his wife, three cats, and a rescue dog named Fred, who starred in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on Broadway. You can visit Chris (and Fred) at www.ChrisGrabenstein.com
Read The Children’s Book Review’s interview with Chris Grabenstein.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, by Chris Grabenstein, was reviewed by Elizabeth Varadan. Follow along with our Humor category and articles tagged with Mystery Books tag to discover more great books just like this one, or, check out another review of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.