Mr. Lemoncello and the Titanium Ticket: Mr. Lemoncello's Library, Book 5

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
Mr. Lemoncello and the Titanium Ticket: Mr. Lemoncello's Library, Book 5 Book Poster Image
Lively nod to Willy Wonka rewards teamwork, empathy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Like previous books in the series, Mr.Lemoncello and the Titanium Ticket is all about learning -- and thinking--being fun. Also a lot of empathy along the way. There are lots of in-jokes, quotes, and literary references (including numerous homages to Willy Wonka) along the way, and also lots of brain-teasing puzzles for the contestants to solve.

Positive Messages

"The future belongs to the puzzle solvers." As we've come to expect from the Lemoncello series, strong messages of collaboration, teamwork, fair play, friendship, clever problem-solving -- and lots of fun. Also, discovering your talents and finding good ways to use them.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Downtrodden but brilliant Simon, befriended (for the first time in his life) by classmate Soraiya, discovers unexpected character strengths, problem-solving capabilities, the joys of teamwork -- and also the legacy of his late parents, whose positive, upbeat influence is strong. Soraiya, besides being a good friend, is an insanely good gamer. Strangely in control of it all is Mr. Lemoncello himself, whose zany ways come from a clever brain, a kind heart, and a sense of fun. Kyle, Akimi, and other recurring characters from the series play supporting -- and supportive --roles, especially for Simon and Soraiya.  As elsewhere in the series, cheaters and mean kids may get a short-term win, but their comeuppance is not far behind.

Violence & Scariness

A kid's parents have been dead for many years -- and, according to the kid's embittered grandfather, Mr. Lemoncello caused their deaths. (The reality is a bit different.) A bullying kid is obsessed with shooting games and uses trickery to cause his opponents minor injuries that take them out of competition.

Language

The bullying kid and his bullying dad refer to people they don't like as "I-D-ten-T"-- idiot. Occasional mentions of butts, toilets, etc.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mr. Lemoncello and the Titanium Ticket is, as the title suggests, both an homage to Roald Dahl'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and an energetic effort to outdo it. This fifth installment in Chris Grabenstein's Mr. Lemoncello's Library series finds contestants facing many challenges, puzzles, riddles, and competitions in a top-secret game factory, competing for an unimaginably fabulous prize. Once again, kindness, teamwork, empathy, and fun carry the day, but not before some bully and his mean cheating ways add difficulties to the path. A character's parents died long ago in a plane crash, and his grandfather blames Mr. Lemoncello for the tragedy. Old-school board games by Parker Bros., Hasbro, and Milton Bradley are part of the scenery.

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What's the story?

MR. LEMONCELLO AND THE TITANIUM TICKET finds the banana-shoed game genius opening his top-secret game factory to an elite team of kid contestants. Oh, and also Simon Skrinkle, who's never played a game in his life and has been zealously shielded from all things Lemoncello by his grandfather, who blames the brilliant eccentric for the deaths of Simon's parents. He's the most invisible kid ever, and pretty much likes it that way. But when classmate Soraiya befriends him, admires his puzzle-solving skills, and goes to great lengths to make sure he's in the competition, things are about to change. Especially once Kyle, Akimi, and other characters from the previous Lemoncello tales get involved.

Is it any good?

This series installment has wildly imaginative fun throughout, friendships forged, puzzles solved, bullies foiled, and plots twisted in a frenzied (but strategic) race for the best prize ever. Inspired rather than intimidated by Roald Dahl's classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mr. Lemoncello and the Titanium Ticket  takes the contest and factory tour to entirely new places, and it's a fun, satisfying, brain-teasing ride.

"'Are you really certain you wish to go through with this, sir?' said Dr. Zinchenko. 'The titanium ticket seems so dramatic. So Willy Wonka-ish. So Ready Player One.'

"'As it should, Yanina. Are our Ohio friends in the air?'

"'Yes,  sir. The banana jet left Alexandriaville an hour ago. Kyle, Akimi, Andrew and Haley are on their way.'

"'Wondermous.'"

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the contest in Mr. Lemoncello and the Titanium Ticket. If you've read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or seen the Willy Wonka movie, how do you think this book compares with the story that inspired it?

  •   Have the books in the Mr. Lemoncello's Library series changed the way you think about libraries and what you might find there? 

  • If you could pick any of the Lemoncello kid characters as your gaming teammate, who would you pick? Why?

Book details

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For kids who love games and problem-solving

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