cover image The Island of Dr. Libris

The Island of Dr. Libris

Chris Grabenstein. Random, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-385-38844-3

Grabenstein (Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library) delivers a science-based variation on the theme of fictional characters being brought to life. When Billy’s mathematician mother, who has been studying the concept of parallel universes, explains to him that “Some people refuse to accept the limits given to them by others,” the 12-year-old doesn’t give the statement another thought—until he discovers he can make impossible things happen through the power of his imagination, combined with reading. With his parents headed toward a likely divorce, Billy is spending a “boring” summer with his mother in a rental cottage, but a foray into the library of the absent owner, Dr. Libris, leads Billy to an island where fictional characters appear. Grabenstein mixes up a melange of characters from the books Billy (and eventually two neighbor children) reads, with Hercules, Robin Hood, the Three Musketeers, Tom Sawyer, and even Pollyanna coming together in dangerous escapades. While the adventures are not especially suspenseful, the story moves at a quick pace and has a good-natured tone that makes for a light but satisfying read. Ages 8–12. Agent: Eric Myers, Spieler Agency. (Mar.)