chris grabenstein

Readaloud of the Week: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

In brief: After years without a library, Kyle’s town is finally getting a library of its own—and not just any library! A library designed by the great game master Luigi Lemoncello. Kyle wins one of the coveted sleepover spots on the library’s opening night, and when the kids wake up after a night of gaming, they discover that the real game is just beginning: Now they’ve got to solve their way to library’s secret exit to win a fabulous prize. As Kyle teams up with friends old, new, and unexpected to puzzle out the clues in the amazingly interactive library, he discovers that the library just might be the coolest place in the entire world.

What makes it a great readaloud: Libraries! Puzzles to solve! Witty book references! While you shouldn’t look for nuanced character development, you’ll be so busy running around the library with Kyle and his allies to crack codes and unpuzzle puzzles, you will hardly miss it.

But be aware: One of the characters says “bro” so many times that it feels like Grabenstein was trying to write a drinking game into the book.

Quotable: “A library doesn’t need windows, Andrew. We have books, which are windows into worlds we never even dreamed possible.”