Recommendation Wednesday: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

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 GoEscape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
  • 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. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

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.

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