Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Totally Read Tuesday- Escape for Mr. Lemoncello's Library

Last April while I was at the Texas Library Association's annual conference in San Antonio, I was lucky enough to briefly meet the author of this book at an event call the YART Texas Tea. It's kind of like speed dating for authors where you stay at a table and the authors rotate around and talk to each of the different tables. Mr. Grabenstein was very sweet and after he described his book, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, to those of us at the table, I was hooked. I downloaded it from my public libraries Overdrive a few days after we got back from the conference, and was not disappointed.
The common and probably overused comparison of this book is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but in a library. That is a good comparison, but this book is great in its own right and doesn't need to be compared to Dahl's classic to draw people in. Mr. Lemoncello is a very wealthy game creator and he is reopening his hometown's library 10 years after it had been closed by the city. This library is state of the art and a total mystery to the whole town who are waiting for it to reopen. Mr. Lemoncello has an essay contest to choose a group of  students who will be the libraries first patron's and get to spend the whole night in the library. The students are soon caught up in all of the twists, turns, and surprises that Mr. Lemoncello has in store for them. The final surprise being the ultimate game, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library. The students must find clues and use their problem solving skills to figure out a way to leave the library, and have the chance to win some amazing prizes.

It's true that as a librarian I might be a bit biased, and I haven't met another librarian yet who read this book and didn't love it. Libraries have an image problem, with many incorrectly believing they are stuffy and quite spaces where only silent reading happens. This book shows the potential for libraries (even if they can't be as cool as Mr. Lemoncello's). It brings in all the best aspects of what libraries should represent to kids and shows readers how much fun libraries can be. I wanted to move in to Mr. Lemoncello's library, I wanted to be one of the characters going through clues and trying to figure out how to win the game. I think kids who read this will want to go to their local libraries and see all of the things they have to offer (unfortunately probably not animatronic animals, and a full service arcade). This book is appropriate for all ages and I think it could be a great read aloud book for kids 2nd grade and up. I actually bought this book for my 2nd grade niece and can't wait until she's old enough to read it herself because I know she'll love it. If you have kids in your life, or bibliophiles in general this is a great read.  Even if you are in your 40's with full grown kids, it will bring you back to the first time you read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The audiobook is also well read and was one of the few fiction audiobooks that I listened to last year. Use the rafflecopter below to enter to win your own paperback copy of this book. If you've read it then post below with your review. Happy Tuesday and Happy Reading!

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  1. I read this book because NN told me how great this book was and it is! You guys have to read this thing! It's awesome. I just got it in my library and I am talking it up to my kids and they are checking this puppy out like crazy!