Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Book Review: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library. Why we adore Chris Grabenstein.

Welcome to the 28th Kid Lit Blog Hop!
Stanley & I are thrilled to be co-hosts for the hop this week, and Cool Mom was able to (sort of) get a review out of Neighbor Girl. How exciting!

About the Book

Title: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
*A New York Times Bestseller*
Author: Chris Grabenstein
Year Published: 2013
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages: 304
Age Level: 8-12
Summary (Amazon): 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.

Neighbor Girl's Review (?)

   This is Cool Mom posting. I have an extremely difficult time getting Neighbor Girl to share any sort of review about any book. She loves to read, and read, and read, and read. Writing a review though? That is tricky. Between her own creative writing and school work, it is understandable. However, sometimes when she finishes a book, she is so excited that she can barely contain herself.
   That was the case with Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library. A conversation that I had with her, on her commute into school last week, revealed just how much she adores this book. I'll be honest, I did not get to read it yet (I'm months behind in my reading) so this is feedback from Neighbor Girl as summarized by me. Because of my poor memory, I videotaped what I remembered her saying the moment she got out of the car. HA! This post was also approved by Neighbor Girl prior to posting.

Okay, Here it is...

Cool Mom's Summary of Neighbor Girl's Review

   Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is a great book.  I wish I could go to that library! It is in an old bank building with many vaults. I enjoyed how clues would randomly show up. For example, I liked when one of the characters went into a room and she heard, "Congratulations..you are our third visitor... and we all know that the third time is a charm." 

   I enjoyed the holograms and animatronics representing history, especially when George Washington was debating with George Bush. The book references within this book were great, too! The characters explored through the Dewey Decimal system with fun surprises along the way.

   My favorite section was the Young Adult section which had sofas shaped like Scrabble piece holders. 

   The best part might have been figuring out the FINAL puzzle that lies in the book for the reader to solve. I figured it out! You should, too (see below).

   I loved the book and will definitely read it again. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

  Mr. Grabenstein was kind enough to answer a very important question that I had for him, JUST for this blog post. Isn't he nice?

Neighbor Girl's Question: I know that you spent some of your career as an improv artist. I love improv, too! What is your favorite improv game to play?

Mr. Grabenstein: My favorite improv game of all time was called Activity.   My scene partner, the always hysterical Tom Carrozza, would leave the theatre and go out in the hall where he couldn't hear what the audience told me.   I would then ask for four suggestions of activities that I had to make Tom do without telling him what it was I wanted him to do.  We had everything from picking the lint out of Ronald Reagan's belly button to tap dancing on the moon.   It was always hysterical and Tom always figured out what he had to do.   The audience LOVED it.   I think because it employed classic irony -- the audience knows something that one of the players on stage does not.  They knew where I was trying to take Tom and would delight at his confusion.

Neighbor Girl: Thank you for taking the time to answer my question and for writing a great book!

"Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is a great book!" 

About The Author, Chris Grabenstein

(From Amazon) Chris Grabenstein is the co-author with James Patterson of the #1 New York Times Bestseller I FUNNY. He is also an award-winning author of books for children and adults, a playwright, screenwriter, and former advertising executive and improvisational comedian. Winner of two Anthony and three Agatha Awards, Chris used to write for Jim Henson's Muppets, was president of the New York Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, and co-wrote the screenplay for the CBS-TV movie The Christmas Gift starring John Denver. Chris lives in New York City with his wife, three cats, and a rescue dog named Fred, who starred on Broadway in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. You can visit Chris (and Fred) at www.ChrisGrabenstein.com.

Website * Facebook * Twitter 

Game Spinner

You Could Win

   If you figure out the final puzzle hidden in the book, your name will be put into a drawing for two libraries of books that will take place on January 1, 2014. The winner will receive two sets of all of Mr. Grabenstein's books for younger readers plus two sets of books donated by Random House Children's Books, Mr. Lemoncello's publisher. The hope is that the winner will keep one library of books for themselves and donate the other to their favorite school or public library. 

The Book's Trailer

This book is in the final round of voting on GoodReads
Choice Awards. Click the link to vote:

Wait, there is more!!!

   Neighbor Girl was thrilled to meet Mr. Grabenstein, recently, at the Lititz Kid-Lit Festival! Not only did she meet him but this wonderful man asked if he could purchase OUR book. REALLY. He did.  What a great guy.  Cool Mom told us that Mr. Grabenstein receives the "He's a Good Man" award - just like Mr. Matt Phelan - for his ability to appreciate his young readers and to encourage them in their own writing. These pets give him two paws up each! 
Mr. Grabenstein reading from "Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library."
Neighbor Girl working to solve a puzzle from the book.
Neighbor Girl, Chris Grabenstein & This Kid Reviews Books, Erik. 

Mr. Chris Grabenstein & Neighbor Girl. A great moment.Thank you, Mr. Grabenstein!

What should you do now?  How about one of the following:
Thank you for reading and sharing,

Katrina von Cat the Master of Wisdom and Knowledge

    (and Stanley)

Disclosure: Neighbor Girl purchased a copy of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library. We received no monetary or in-kind compensation for her honest review. This post does NOT contain affiliate links.