Kyle Keeley is third in line behind his brothers. Brothers who are 1) a complete jock and 2) an utter brainiac. But those things don’t necessarily matter in the world of games. Brawn and brains won’t help the roll of the die, or the draw of a lucky card and this gives Kyle a fighting chance. In fact, he’s pretty good at games. So when Kyle finds out that his favorite game maker has designed the new local library he’s more than eager to be a part of the invitation-only lock-in on opening night. But what Kyle doesn’t count on, is that getting into the library is the easy part. Getting out is the name of this game.
I picked up “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” on a whim, not expecting much. After all, it was recommended by all the usual suspects and that (dare I admit it?) is generally enough to make me turn and run. But I was more than pleasantly surprised by this book. Indeed, as soon as I had finished it I handed it off to my 11 year old, and then she promptly handed it off to the 8 year old. And then, at the book’s invitation, my 11 year old picked up the book again in search of the answer to the unsolved mystery. Whew!
So, uh. Yes. This book is a mystery – the children must find a way out of the library by using the clues available, unearthing the new clues and, ultimately, helping each other along the way. Parents are respected. Thinking is applauded. And cheaters never prosper. Its contents are simultaneously intriguing and benign. That is, your child isn’t going to be mentally accosted by reading it.
There is some reference to video games as Mr. Lemoncello is the supreme game maker (author? creator?) whose specialty is not limited to the traditional board game but also includes video games and non-traditional action games. As well, the game makes use of a long list of previously published book titles, movies, and songs. A word of caution regarding the rabbit trail that may ensue.
All in all, the book was a delightful read and enjoyed by Boy8, Girl11, and momma (age withheld).
- Author: Chris Grabenstein
- Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (June 25, 2013)
- Hardcover 304 pages
- Reading Age: 8+
- Role Models/Authority Figures – Kyle’s parents punish him for wrongdoing. Cheaters are removed from the game. Another child gets a reward for opting out of the game and keeping her prior commitments.
- Violence – None.
- Sexual Content – None.
- Language – None.
- Consumerism – Reference to Playstation (PS3, PSP, and Playstation older version), Nintendo DS. Long list of book titles, and various movies.
- Drinking/Smoking/Drugs – None
- Religion – None