Friday, April 7, 2017

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

Summary From Goodreads:

Welcome, boys and girls, readers of all ages, to the first-ever Library Olympiad! Kyle and his teammates are back, and the world-famous game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, is at it again!

This time Mr. Lemoncello has invited teams from all across America to compete in the first ever LIBRARY OLYMPICS. Will it be fun? Like the commercials say. . . HELLO? It’s a Lemoncello! But something suspicious is going on . . . books are missing from Mr. Lemoncello’s library. Is someone trying to CENSOR what the kids are reading?! In between figuring out mind-boggling challenges, the kids will have to band together to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Now it’s not just a game—can Mr. Lemoncello find the real defenders of books and champions of libraries?
I love these books! I honestly feel like they were written for me. They mix my love of children’s literature, game shows, trivia, friendship stories, and competition. This one kind of had the feeling of the fourth Harry Potter book. It was a Tri-Wizard Tournament of sorts. And I loved every moment of it.
It was so nice to love an audio book again. It was so hard getting through my previous audio book that I almost waited a little extra before starting this new one. I’m so glad I did though. I never wanted to leave my car. I even took the last disc out of my car to listen to in my house because I wanted to know what would happen and also because I don’t want to go on vacation for a week and not know what happened.
I thought I’d be able to pack my suitcase and listen at the same time. I was wrong. I found myself sitting on my couch, with the story being my sole focus. I felt like the pressure to win was even higher for Kyle and his friends. They didn’t want the world to think they didn’t deserve all that they had already won.
I got a little annoyed with Kyle at one point. The pressure was seriously getting to him and he kind of snapped at a few of my favorite characters (one in particular: Sierra). However, I guess this made him more believable. No one is nice all the time. And while he’s the Harry Potter of chosen team leaders, he’s not perfect.
I loved that a lot of this book was also about censorship and banned books. What a fantastic way to educate the kiddos of the world about banned books. There were a few things that were maybe a little too over-the-top, but then even that over-the-topness was talked about and handled in a unique way…I can’t really explain this better without spoiling.
The book was loaded with new games, challenges, riddles, and book trivia. I got more glimpses into the amazing fictional library of my dreams. I reunited with old friends from the previous book. And I got to meet new characters too. I loved some of the deeper messages presented about book banning and censorship. All in all, this was awesome. I give it a 10/10. I highly recommend it to reluctant readers, gamers, children’s literature fans, and of course all librarians everywhere.

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