Title: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
Author: Chris Grabenstein
Publisher: Yearling Adventure
Published: June 24th 2014
Books. Library. Puzzle.
I love each one of them. How about combining them into a story? It would be fascinating and Chris Grabenstein successfully did it through this 336 pages. I am thrilled about how Chris put all things together in an ingenious way. Kyle Keeley is 12 years old and crazy about games especially anything that came out from Mr. Lemoncello’s imagination factory. He grew up with them and everyone in the family loves it. So when he heard about Alexandriavilles’ new public library that Mr. Lemoncello’s was helping build, he was so excited to see the place. In addition to the good news, he found out about the library lock-in event for the winner of essay competition “Why I am Excited about the New Public Library”. Mr. Lemoncello will pick twelve 12 years old kids as winners and they will get to go to the library lock-in on friday night and spend the night in the new library before anyboday else gets to see the place. Are you picturing it now? A night surrounded by books in a marvelous library designed by the famous game maker ever? Sound interesting huh?! And for a mysterious reason, Kyle won.
On friday night he gets into the library with the eleven other kids escorted by Dr. Zinchenko, the head librarian. With Dr. Zinchenko command, the lock-in begins. All the excitement from the beginning is for well spent night, doing cool stuff at the library and playing Mr. Lemoncello’s games if they are available. But the main purpose of the lock-in remains unknown for them till the next morning. By the moment they thought the lock-in was over, the real game was just started and that will be Mr. Lemoncello’s best game ever!
Find your way out of the library using only what’s in the library. Awesome! (p.84)
The way out is not the way they came in or any other emergency exit. They were given a library card and according to the hint, they are the keys to everything they will need. They have to find clues spread all over the place, hiding behind the dewey decimal numbers or shelves, put all the hints together into something that will help them out. I can’t give you all the details because they are too details to be mentioned here. It was like collecting small pieces of jigsaw puzzle and put them in the right place to see the real picture. And its fun because sometimes to get a piece of new clue, they have to play a game or two, read a book and call for help.
Reader will only know what the characters know and see only what they see, so I felt involved in the process of finding clues and puzzle with anything their struggling to understand. At the end, I thought the author wasn't t only talking about how cool the library was or how creative and fun the puzzle or the way to solve it but also adding something very important that children should grasp from it. It was about selflessness, teamwork, fairness, honesty and how important to have a good attitude in order to achieve something great. Children will fall deeply in the story, so will an adult like me.
The first idea to write this story came to the author when he visited one of his favorite schools in New York and the librarian in that school told him about the marvelous school library that has been donated by a very generous benefactor. And the benefactor turned out to be Mr. Lemoncello in this story. He reminds me to Willy Wonka. It was hard to not think of Mr. Lemoncello as Willy Wonka, because the author describes him as an eccentric billionaire surrounded by kids. Another memorable character for me.