Thursday, February 9, 2017

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein and read by Jesse Bernstein

Summary from Goodreads:
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 feel like this book was written for me. Do you ever read (or in this case listen) to a book and go, “does this author know me?” And okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but this is the ultimate book for teachers and Youth Services librarians. The children’s book references abound! The praise of libraries, of learning, of researching, and of sharing is so astounding that I can’t help but read this book and feel amazing for the job that I do.
I have had a lot of tough days in the last couple of months. Books have always been a source of escape for me. This was more than that. It was such a positive, understanding, and enjoyable book about the services provided at a library, and all the magic knowledge can award people.
This is also a book for Ravenclaws. Seriously, the riddles, word problems, trivia, and information in here is a Ravenclaw’s dream vacay. Basically, all the characters win an overnight in the new town library (before the public has access). Then, a famous game inventor turns figuring out how to leave the library into a giant, scavenger hunt/escape game. Much research, reading, game playing, clue solving, riddle answering and games ensue.
I also loved the characters. I love that Kyle is a good guy. He shares his initial essay award with each member of his family. He’s open to anyone joining his team. He goes to help people who need him, even when it interrupts game time. He’s a truly good main character. I love his friends too. I of course loved Sierra, the character who was always reading. And Akimi was great too. I really did not want Andrew Peckleman to win.
What’s genius about this book is that it is designed for book lovers, but it will also appeal to people who aren’t readers. It appeals to the game show lovers, the reality show watchers, the Escape Room goers, and the gamers out there. It is seriously a book that can appeal to a lot of different people.
I loved the narrator as well. I listened to the audio, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear my favorite Rick Riordan book reader. Bernstein had the voices down! He clearly knew how to read kids voices and how to build suspense. I’m really impressed by his reading of this. There were a few times where I wished I had the physical book because I would have liked to read the clues instead of hear about them –some of them involved pictures and were rather visually orientated. But, I got the point.
I liked that all the kids playing were rather intelligent. I mean what other kids would enter an extra credit essay contest to spend the night in a new library? The game aspect to it all was not mentioned until way past the essay-writing stage.
I also loved the library. I want a sky dome, animatronics in the kids room, a bunny that says, “hush,” and “Goodnight room,” Dewey screens, game rooms, etc. This was one amazing library. My jaw kept dropping each time more of the library was revealed. The setting was pure magic, but also totally and completely believable. I can see libraries going in this direction.
This book had it all: good setting, wonderful characters, a game to end all games, tons of book references, a survival of the fittest type competition, riddles and clues to solve, friendships, competitions, and so much more. The one thing I thought was missing was YA references. The kids were sort of in that age between kid and teen, but still. They were reading Sherlock Holmes and adult nonfiction about banks, and referencing a million kids books a minute. Where was the YA representation? But, all in all, I loved it. I give it a 10/10.

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