Emily Grossenbacher, children’s manager and buyer at Lemuria Books in Jackson, Miss., is looking forward to introducing kids to Chris Grabenstein’s Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, due from Random House on June 25.
We at Lemuria are constantly on the lookout for that perfect book that isn’t girly or boyish, but is just a good book for any middle-grade reader. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is definitely one of those novels, and it grabs you right away. Everything from the imaginative title to the beautiful cover illustrated by Jackson, Miss., native Gilbert Ford – yes, we may be a tad partial – this book’s got it going on.
Kyle Keely, the youngest of three boys, is a whiz at games. Video games, board games, puzzles, word problems; you name it, he loves it. What he doesn't love is reading. So while his friends are clamoring for the chance to spend the night in the new library, Kyle is less than enthused. It is only after he discovers that the library was designed by the famous game designer Luigi Lemoncello that Kyle takes a crack at the extra credit essay that could be his ticket to the event.
Kyle and his friends win the coveted spots for the overnight party, only to discover the next morning that they are trapped in the library. Mr. Lemoncello has turned the lock-in into a real-life game, where the first one to escape the fantastical library claims the prize. Can Kyle and his friends band together to win one for the team?
With a great mix of boy and girl main characters, interesting information on how libraries work, and intriguing challenges for this band of misfits, this non-fantasy was exactly what I was looking for. Add in the gaming hook, and this novel has a wide appeal range for boys and girls alike. The book is perfect for fans of Pseudonymous Bosch and Dan Gutman.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein. Random House, $16.99 June ISBN 978-0-3758-7089-7