Monday, November 18, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

Today’s Pick: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

From Amazon:
Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library.

Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high.
In this cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night in the Museum, Agatha Award winner Chris Grabenstein uses rib-tickling humor to create the perfect tale for his quirky characters. Old fans and new readers will become enthralled with the crafty twists and turns of this ultimate library experience.

My Take:
I love libraries and playing all kinds of games so I was excited to read this book. I enjoyed all the references to books and television shows, and the mystery and the clues to finding the way out were a lot of fun to try to solve. The library in this book was full of interesting details, like star maps in the ceiling, sofas designed to look like Scrabble trays and holographic statues. This book explained some aspects of how to use a library in a fun way; for example, using the Dewey decimal system to find books and asking librarians for help. It was a fast-paced story with several different characters.

As a writer, I’d look at this novel again to see how the author created the cool setting and dropped in details about it. But mostly, I’d read it again to revisit all the clever references to other books.

Opening Line:

“This is how Kyle Keeley got grounded for a week.”


“This door serves as a reminder to us all: Our thoughts are safe when they are inside a library.”

“Apparently, watching a real live person risk his real live life by doing something really, really, scary was one thing more exciting than reading.”

“Something Sherlock Holmes said to Dr. Watson early in the story really stuck with Kyle: “You see, but you do not observe.”

Other Info:

Chris Grabenstein lives in New York City. He has several pets, including his amazing dog Fred, who starred in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

There is a game to go with this book called Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Escape Game which is available for school libraries on his website.

In an interview with Chris Grabenstein at The Boy Reader, he talks about his writing process: “A former improvisational comedian, I tend to make my scenes up as I go.  Like Robert Frost said, no surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

Other Books by this Author Include:

I, Funny with James Patterson
The Crossroads (Haunted Mystery Series)

The Hanging Hill (Haunted Mystery Series)

The Smoky Corridor (Haunted Mystery Series)

The Black Heart Crypt (Haunted Mystery Series)

For more info, visit Chris Grabenstein’swebsite.

You can find more Marvelous Middle Grade Monday books by checking out Shannon Messenger’s blog! Shannon is the founder of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday and the author of the middle grade novels, Keeper of the Lost Cities and Exile (Keeper of the Lost Cities #2).


  1. I started this one but read it late, late at night when I was way too sleepy. I've heard such great things about it that I know I need to give it another shot.

  2. What a fun way to tell a story! I especially love this quote: “This door serves as a reminder to us all: Our thoughts are safe when they are inside a library.” Libraries are sacred. =)

  3. I've read The Crossroads, but this sounds totally different. Good for Chris Grabenstein! I've been wanting to read this ever since I first heard about it. Love the sofas like Scrabble trays! And I'm always happy when a middle grade novel refers to other books.

  4. I'm new to your blog, but I like what you have here. Thanks for the reminder about a book that has been on my TBR list for quite awhile.

  5. Great minds think alike! I'm featuring Lemoncello today too! :)

  6. I want this now. I'm off to add it to my wish list.

  7. We just reviewed this as well. My daughter loved it and will definitely read it again!

  8. Oh my gosh. I'd not heard about this. Gotta have it!


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