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 Great Library Race is the third installment in best-selling author Chris Grabenstein's series aimed at showing kids the wonders of libraries. Like other books in the series, it's packed with book references, creative challenges, diverse characters, and over-the-top details (like a private jet shaped like a banana, or drone slippers that let the wearer fly). It's also a timely response to the growing problem of fake news and other internet falsehoods, offering a great how-to (disguised as a mystery adventure) for figuring out whether that shocking information you just read online has a shred of truth attached. A bit of fart humor (whoopee cushions play a minor role) and occasional butt/poop references aside, there's nothing to worry about here and a lot to like.
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What's the story?
Kyle Keeley (a typical kid with great gaming skills) and his brainiac friends are looking forward to MR. LEMONCELLO'S GREAT LIBRARY RACE, which is supposed to be just another outrageously cool contest to promote the wacky Mr. Lemoncello's latest game release. But the evil Krinkle Brothers, makers of the world's most boring games, have other (sneaky, rotten) plans. Soon the contest is about lots more than finding out facts about famous people -- it's about saving the reputation, and game empire, of Mr. Lemoncello himself!
Is it any good?
Maybe the best Lemoncello yet, with a gripping plot, wild inventions, sneaky villains, and clever tweens who put aside their differences and pool their talents to save their hero and his library. Author Chris Grabenstein is in top form as he packs the story with book references, problem-solving challenges, loony pronouncements by the wacky Mr. Lemoncello -- and, along the way, a detailed how-to for examining that internet news story you just read to see if it's real or fake, and who's trying to make you believe it. Sometimes, as the story teaches a skill or warns of a hazard, it adds a message or two on the side, as here, where one of the kids has a personal reason for knowing hasty generalizations are a bad idea:
"'Please,' said Abia. 'I beg of you: Do not go there.'
"'Go where?' said Elliott, sounding defensive.
"'Holding everybody in the state of Missouri responsible for the acts of two creepy old men.'
"'But it makes sense,' said Diane.
"'In the same way that it makes sense for the airport security screeners to give my father extra scrutiny every time he flies because his skin is brown and his first name is Muhammad?'"
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the library in Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race. Do you like to go to the library in your town? What do you like about it? What could be better? Do you wish it had some of the features in Mr. Lemoncello's library?
Have you ever learned a surprising fact about someone you thought you knew pretty well? Did it make you think about them differently?
Have you ever gotten upset about a story or picture you saw on the internet, only to find out later that somebody just made the whole thing up and posted it? How did you find out the truth? How did you feel?
- Author: Chris Grabenstein
- Genre: Mystery
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, History
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Random House
- Publication date: October 10, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 288
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: May 9, 2019
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