Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

by Chris Grabenstein (2013)

A Sweet Spot and Intermediate Selection.

“A library doesn’t need windows… We have books, which are windows into worlds we never even dreamed possible.” 

Kyle Keeney loves games – especially those created by world-renowned game maker, Mr. Luigi Lemoncello. As luck would have it, Mr. Lemoncello has built a public library in Kyle’s hometown. Students in Kyle’s class are challenged to write an essay about why they’re excited about the opening of the new library – and the twelve kids with the best essay are invited to see the library before anyone else. Only… the invitation leads to a brand new challenge unlike anything the world has ever seen! 

“The entire library will be the game broad. Your children will be the game pieces. The winner will become famous all over the world.” 

With 24 hours to figure out how to escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s library, Kyle and his classmates are thrust into an absorbing, puzzle-ridden tale. Books, the Dewey Decimal System, reading comprehension and retention all provide answers that solve mysteries helping the characters to find an exit from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. Readers join the team of characters looking for the answers to escape, yet those same readers will not really want to leave the magical world created in Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

“Knowledge unshared remains unknown.”

What starts out as an “every man for himself” challenge to win a prize, turns into a team challenge in which nearly every student finds themselves working together. Kyle and his best friend, Akami, initially fold quiet Sierra into their team, and eventually add the cautious Miguel and the secretly-clever Hayley, too. Each kid brings their own distinct personality and skills to the table. While they all work well separately, Kyle’s team shines brightest when they work together. 

When students have finished, they’ll be blessed with a new appreciation for local libraries and a desire to visit them — your school’s or your town’s. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is a book full of camaraderie that makes for a tremendously fun group reading experience, and thus a perfect title for schools to read together. 

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