Monday, November 18, 2013

Escape from Mr Lemoncello's library by Chris Grabenstein

"These twelve children have lived their entire lives without a public library.  As a result they have no idea how extraordinarily useful, helpful, and funful - a word I recently invented - a library can be. This is their chance to discover that a library is more than a collection of dusty old books.  It is a place to learn, explore and grow!"

Today was a rainy day.  I thought I would just spend half an hour dipping into this new book.  Three hours later I lifted my head with an enormous smile on my face.  Saying I loved this book is not enough!  I LOVE THIS BOOK!

If you are a fan of Charlie and the Chocolate factory, Jumanji, The Mysterious Benedict society, any books by Blue Baillett, or The Mixed up files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler you will love this book.  Rush out and grab it now!

Just like Willy Wonker, Mr Lemoncello sets up a competition and the winners (there are twelve of them) will spend the night in the new library in the town of Alexandriaville.  Yes you should make your first connection.  Have you heard about the famous library at Alexandria?  Our hero Kyle almost misses the competition because he did not listen when it was announced but Kyle knows in any good game you sometimes get to roll the dice again and so he works furiously and writes his essay entry.  The teacher will not accept his work but Kyle decides to email directly to Mr Lemoncello himself.

The twelve lucky winners enjoy a wonderful night in the new library but the real surprise comes the next morning when they have the chance to play a far more exciting game.  They must find a way out of the library (it used to be a bank), they have only 24 hours and  "the way out is not the way you came in.  You may not use any of the fire exits. .. Creating an incident that requires evacuation will not count as having discovered a way to exit the library."  The children have three lifelines each and they can also participate in extreme challenges but while the rewards will be great failure means elimination.  The library is filled with holograms, amazing technology and rooms organised using the Dewey decimal system.

Here are a set of questions to use with your class.

I have made a list of some of the books Chris Grabenstein cleverly mentions in his story either in a sentence or as a pun:

"The correct answer is - and not just because of Winn Dixie - D"
"something wicked this way will probably come"
"there's no place I'd rather be on my big day than inside a library, surrounded by books. Unless, of course, I could be on a bridge to Terabithia."
"And thus ends the story of Andrew and the terrible, horrible, no good very had day."
"Fail ... and ... you will be eliminated from the game, and your team, due to a series of unfortunate events, will be forced to struggle on without you."
"Well, it's cloudy with a chance of meatballs and I had nothing better to do."

There are two books on each of the children's library cards - No David!; One fish, two fish, red fish, Blue fish; Tales of a fourth grade nothing; Olivia; Scat; Where the sidewalk ends; I love you, Stinky Face and The Napping house are a few examples.

Read this review if I have not convinced you that this book is wonderful.

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