Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. By Chris Grabenstein. Random House, 2013. 304 pages. $16.99

Disclaimer! I’m an elementary school librarian. I LOVED this book. I’m trying to think of how I can use it in my school library program to turn kids on to the magic of the Dewey Decimal System. But let me back up a minute….

Mr. Lemoncello, a board game magnate, bequeaths his hometown of Alexandriaville the funds for a new library. This is not just any library. It has all of the latest and greatest, not-yet-to-be-imagined-in-the-real-world, features. A drawing is held and twelve seventh graders are selected to celebrate the library’s opening by spending the night in the library. Their challenge is to find their way out. Relying on their game-playing skills, knowledge of the Dewey Decimal System, and applying old-fashioned logic, the 12-year-olds battle each other to win the grand prize. Conflict arises, allegiances form, egos are bruised, and friendships are formed as the puzzle is solved. Grabenstein has crafted an innovative story, but it requires a certain knowledge of and appreciation of how libraries are organized. Readers may not have that fascination and/or interest and that could narrow the appeal for this book. Hand-selling the title to library lovers will be key.  Perfect for bibliophiles in grades 4-7.

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1 Response to “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library”


  1. 1 Debra Alt September 30, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Hi. I, too, LOVED this book and, as a public librarian, am trying to create a program for this book. As a matter of fact, I had a 4th grader quivering with ideas on how to proceed! Games were a big part of this book so I was trying to think of short games that, when won, would spell out a clue. And solving a puzzle to leave the library is priceless! I thought about ordering tee shirts as prizes…if you haven’t looked on Grabenstein’s website, they also have mugs as well as an assortment of styles in tees. Good luck with your program!


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