Book review: Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics, by Chris Grabenstein

Grabenstein, Chris. Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics. Random House, 2016. $16.99. ISBN 9780553510409. 278 pgs. Ages 12-18. P8Q9.

Grabenstein Library OlympicsThis is the sequel to Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. Kyle and his friends from the previous book are competing with teams from across the US in the Library Olympics. Like the previous book, it is full of riddles, puzzles, book references, hoverboards, holographic statues, high-tech digital devices, and of course, books! As in the Escape, Kyle isn’t sure he’s up the challenge set by Mr. Lemoncello, and worries about letting his friends and team-members down. This book has a mystery- books are disappearing from the library, and some close-minded people are trying to get rid of Mr. Lemoncello and turn the amazing library into a regimented place where information is censored. Some important and serious issues are brought up along the way: library users’ right to privacy and confidentiality, banning books, and cooperating with rivals for the common good are three of the most important. The mystery is solved at the end, and everything ends well, except for the few closed-minded characters who wanted to get rid of Lemoncello. I’m happy this book came out when it did. The Summer Reading Program theme for public libraries this year is Sports, so a book that emphasizes cooperation and a good team attitude is very appropriate. I think middle school aged kids will really enjoy the book, and younger kids might like it too. I can see classroom teachers reading a chapter a day to a third or fourth grade classes with good results.

April 2016 review by Carol Schramm.

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