Middle school students have reading interests that run the gamut from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Twilight. Sometimes as a parent it is hard to know what is age appropriate for your child. Through this blog, I will try to help parents make informed decisions about what is available in our library. I am hoping that this blog will be a resource for our parents, and that we can all work together to make our students life-long readers!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library

Escape from
Mr. Lemoncello's Library

by Chris Grabenstein
From the publisher:
"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."

I enjoyed some things in this book, and I was annoyed by some things in this book. I loved all the literary references, but they felt kind of forced and show-y, and the target audience won't understand most of them. Although since this book is technically a love letter to librarians, maybe that is really the target audience and not middle schoolers. (Audience is not the word I'm looking for, but I can't think what it is. Target readers?) And I found it a little disturbing that a book about libraries didn't really have much to do with the love of reading. The love of gaming was more apparent. There was one character who loved to read, but it was made to sound like she read because she had no friends and once she made friends she stopped having her nose in a book all the time. Those are my feelings, but I'm hoping middle schoolers who love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will love this. It has the same kind of stereotypical mean, rich kid; the same kind of know-it-all kid; the same good, honest, loyal-to-friends kid... And maybe it will cause some readers to look into the books that are mentioned (and mentioned, and mentioned).

Suggested ages:
Publisher's Weekly - Ages 9-12
School Library Journal - Grades 4-7

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