A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mr. Lemoncello's All-Star Breakout Game is the fourth installment in Chris Grabenstein's best-selling library-themed series, with a steady bombardment of book and pop culture references, wild imagination, loony humor, and more. This time it's all about fiction -- and incidentally, the empathy you get from putting yourself in a character's place. Once again there's a bit of butt, fart, poop, etc., humor -- with Smell-o-Vision in the story (but fortunately not in the actual book). Once again regular kid Kyle Keeley and his fellow seventh-graders face long odds but are well served by interesting teamwork. The game involves scenes and characters from many kid-fiction classics, which is part of the fun for those who've read them already and a great source of recommendations for those who haven't.
What's the story?
Kyle Keeley and his fellow seventh-graders (aka the Lemon Heads) have been waiting months for the premiere of MR. LEMONCELLO'S ALL-STAR BREAKOUT GAME. Their zeal is rewarded when the next epic library adventure is announced, and the Lemon Heads' combined skills help them make the cut. They soon realize, though, that they're in a lot of trouble (and not just because Kyle has ditched detention for the contest). For one thing, rich kid Lemoncello hater Charles Chillington is back, bent on revenge for past slights and humiliations, and fielding a team of eighth grade bookworms-for-hire. Also back: former cheerleader-classmate/current TV star Haley Daley, with a team of preening, backbiting Kidzapalooza stars. This time it's all about fiction. And surprises. The prize is awesome. Let the games begin ...
Is it any good?
Chris Grabenstein returns with more loony library fun, brain-teasing puzzles, and a brand-new game that plunges the intrepid Lemon Heads into fictional worlds as they seek fun, fame, and prizes. The category is fiction, and this time Mr. Lemoncello's All-Star Breakout Game has his contestants on a fast-paced, plot-twisty solve-a-thon through the horror room, the comic book room, the fairytale room, and more. Engaging and cheer-worthy as ever, Kyle, Sierra, Akimi, and Miguel bring teamwork and talents in the face of strong opponents and never-a-dull-moment developments (you never know when those paper-rock-scissors skills are going to come in really handy).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about fiction -- and how it's different from fact-based research, writing, and storytelling. Can you learn anything from fictional stories (and imagination-based worlds)? Can you learn the same thing from studying facts, or is it different?
Kyle has a warm, loving, rambunctious family, while other characters aren't so fortunate. One has a smothering mother and a demanding, uncaring father, while another is still living down her dad's bad behavior in a previous installment. How do you think their various family backgrounds and support structures (or lack thereof) influence their choices as the plot develops?
Sometimes you expect a new movie or book to be completely awesome, and you find you don't like it so much. Other times you're not expecting it to be good and it really surprises you. Has this happened to you? What surprised you?
- Author: Chris Grabenstein
- Genre: Friendship
- Topics: Book Characters, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Middle School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: May 7, 2019
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 288
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: April 1, 2021
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