Because, my dear friends, these twelve children have lived their entire lives without a public library. As a result, they have no idea how extraordinarily useful, helpful, and funful—a word I recently invented—a library can be. This is their chance to discover that a library is more than a collection of dusty old books. It is a place to learn, explore, and grow!
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein is SO FUN. It’s sort of a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory/Westing Game hybrid. Mr. Lemoncello is this super eccentric rich dude who builds the world’s greatest library and then holds a contest for a selection of kids. And the contest is a scavenger hunt/the world’s best board game. I mean.
The book is one huge love letter to reading, authors, libraries, and librarians. Oh, and to smart kids and games, of course.
The kids are so great, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be Sierra. She is THE BEST. She plays the game, but she’s much more interested in exploring the books and reading. I love her.
There were a lot of allusions to tons of books (most of which were super easy to get, but it is a middle grade novel, so that makes sense). I started making a list, but then stopped because it got too long. So, the books/authors mentioned either outright or via allusion are:
- The Giver
- The Hunger Games
- Oh, the Places You Will Go
- Little House on the Prairie
- When You Reach Me
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
- Frederick Douglass
- The Westing Game
- Ella Enchanted
- The Great Gilly Hopkins
- The Red Pyramid
- Maniac Magee
- A Wrinkle in Time
- Great Expectations
- Goodnight Moon
- From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
- Bridge to Terabithia
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
- The Three Musketeers
- A Series of Unfortunate Events
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
- The Phantom Tollbooth
- The Wind in the Willows
- Tuck Everlasting
- The Rats of NIMH
- Al Capone Does My Shirts
And that is an incomplete list! Basically, a book or author is referenced on every single page. EVERY PAGE. <3 <3 <3 <3
The book is not without its flaws (the characters are kind of flat, the ending a bit predictable), but I really enjoyed the emphasis on teamwork and, of course, how much awesomeness there is to find at the library. Love the library. LOVE the library, and therefore love this book.