Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book Review + 6th Grader's Reactions: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

..and why it made my student’s summer homework a success!
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
Source: Paperback gifted
My rating: 3 of 5 stars :star :star :star
Publisher: Yearling
Date of Publication: June 24, 2014

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets A Night in the Museum in this action-packed New York Times Bestseller from Chris Grabenstein, coauthor of I Funny, Treasure Hunters and other bestselling series with James Patterson!Kyle Keeley is the class clown and a huge 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 construction of the new town library. Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot as one of twelve kids invited for an overnight sleepover in the library, hosted by Mr. Lemoncello and riddled with lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors stay locked. Kyle and the other kids must solve every clue and figure out every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route!

My Review

This was a really cute story. I read this with my student during the summer and she really liked it (more about that later). It feels like a major win too because she dislikes reading. Despite it having some cheesy parts, I did like it. Kind of guilty how much I liked it, despite its cheesiness. I would actually read the other book by this author. My student wants to as well, so I would say I am so glad I put this one on the list. I can't even really see why it's geared towards boys, as I didn't get that vibe at all, even though the MC was a boy. Then again, maybe it's just that boys are reading it and liking it too? I’m not sure.

All I know is that my student, a 6th grade girl, absolutely loved it. She wrote an excellent book report on it (I am her tutor, by the way, in case you were wondering) and I just feel like it really did add to what I took from the story (her enjoyment). I have to mention a few of her points too, as far as her feedback because I feel like it’s not only valid (or at least, in my opinion) but that it’s always great to hear from middle grade readers about what THEY think of the particular middle grade book. Especially if it’s a bestseller. I always wonder, for any genre, when a book is a bestseller why the demographic who it’s marketed toward likes it / picks it up in the first place / likes it (or doesn’t).

I know some of you are reading this because you’re interested in reading the book yourself or maybe for your son/daughter or even a student! I found a whole thing online about all these different people in education and the whole discussion of : WHAT SHOULD I RECOMMEND TO THE KIDS TO READ THIS _____ (summer // winter // road trip // etc)?

I get it. It’s a thing. It’s a big deal. Very few students are actually avid readers (in summer, especially). But let me just tell you that as a book blogger it was even difficult for ME. (ok, admittedly this was due to an overwhelming amount of options even for a student as picky as the one I have). But still, lol.

What I actually ended up doing was creating an Amazon wish list just for her (and I) to decide what to read together for the summer. She had one book assigned (Rain, Reign - you won’t hear my thoughts on that, they’re too negative for me to put on the blog). Anyway— the wish list was called Summer Reading Choices and I shared it with her and her parents. The ‘rents actually didn’t even look at it, but I know some parents are not quite as chill, or they’r more participative with homework/reading /whatever. The point is, it was fun for her to look at it and then she called me and decided like which covers she liked. Based on that she skimmed the description and asked me why I added that book (only the ones that caught her eye, so I’d say easily half were ignored) ;) I was expecting that though, and was just happy she liked any of them to be honest. I think we got down to this and Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, which I had already read. I was up for it but ultimately this is what she decided. Here’s what she thought: again, I’m summarizing our discussion and her report.

6th Grader’s Reactions to Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library:

Positives and Negatives

+ ’s 
-Adventurous and good plot 
-Cool library (lots of cool effects like hovering to the highest shelf for the book you want).
-Lots of references to other books like Tuck Everlasting, Ella Enchanted, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, etc. 
-Puzzle and mystery was interesting not boring
-The characters were good especially the main character, Kyle

- ’s 
-Narrative style
Didn’t like how it switched to different characters. Didn’t seem to serve a point since we went back to Kyle. Would have preferred to keep it in first person or do it in third but with one narrator not use different characters like the (antagonist) Charles and then would not build sympathy for the character.
-Ending was not that great. 
I wanted something vey exciting and crazy but I kind of knew what would happen and then it was boring how it all ended (a little boring, I still really liked it though!)

There you have it. My thoughts on the book— I’d read the other book by the author. I like that it was a stand alone and seems to be equally geared toward male and female readers. It was funny, if a little too cheesy at times.6th Grader’s Opinon - Really liked it. Glad it was picked for the reading this summer. Definitely wants to read the other book by the aturho, Dr. Libris’ Island. Wants to go back and check the clues for the ”bonus question” at the end.

Did you read this book? Do you ever have a problem with summer reading lists? Or a reluctant reader? What are your tips / thoughts?


  1. Truly any book that can get a child interested in reading is a good book. ;)
    I love that you both enjoyed this and that you (on your own) would be willing to pick up the second book!

  2. I'm not a fan of required summer reading lists. I do like the idea of summer choices like you set up for your student -- of asking kids to make a summer reading goal, or something fun like a bingo game that encourages them to branch out. But a list of required books feels like school, not summer!
    Jen @ YA Romantics


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