Grabenstein, Chris. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's library. New York: Random House, 2013. Print.
Audience: Ages 9-12, Grade 4-6
Summary: Kyle Keeley is the class clown and a lover of all kind of games. The gamemaker Luigi Lemoncello is his idol. So when Kyle finds out that Lemoncello is the brains behind the new town library he eagerly applies to win a spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library. Kyle wins, and gets to spend the night for a sleepover full of gaming. But when morning comes, the kids are locked in and they must solve the secret mystery in order to find the way out.
Strengths: This creative book is homage to libraries and books. It is full of creative puzzles and word play and references many famous novels and authors. The adventure is accessible and many kids will want to play along.
Weaknesses: At times, the references are a bit dated, and the authors and books might not be ones that kids would easily recognize. The characters are flat and a bit stereotypical – I would have liked to see some growth in them over the course of the story.
Uses: With all of the puzzles and word play, this book is perfect for teaching inference (CCSS ELA: RL.1 Grades 4-6). There is a great deal of figurative language to read and interpret as well (CCSS ELA:L.5 Grades 1-6). The story elements would be easy to identify (CCSS ELA: RL.5 Grades 2-5).
· Charlie & the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (story of a boy who goes into a wacky world)
· The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin (mystery story where the residents of an apartment building try and solve a puzzle to win a large inheritance)
· A Night at the Museum (movie) – (movie where the characters are stuck overnight in a museum)
· Chasing Vermeer – Blue Balliett (art mystery where kids try and to solve clues to recover stolen paintings)
· The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – E.L. Koningsberg (two runaways hide in a museum and discover a mystery)
· ALSC Notable
· Cybils Finalist
· Parents Magazine Best Book
· NYT Best Seller
· Bank Street College Best Book
· Washington Post Best Book
Other: Starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness
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