Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics Book Poster Image
Trivia, puzzles, and books galore in zany library sequel.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Centered on an extremely cool multimedia library, the latest Lemoncello adventure is pretty much off the chart in educational value, what with the constant cheerleading for books and learning, the frequent geeking out over fine points of the Dewey decimal system, and an age-appropriate handling of the First Amendment, book banning, and censorship. To make it easy for would-be readers, there's a list at the end of all the books that get mentioned.

Positive Messages

As in the first book, there are plenty of messages about teamwork, cooperation, and the importance of everybody's unique talents and skills. Also, learning is fun, problem-solving skills are important, and things may not be quite what they appear.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kyle and his teammates collaborate well and look out for one another. Many of their competitors are also likable, with many interests that may also entice young readers. Some kids who work with the villains do so for mostly noble reasons but change their ways fast when the villains show their true nature. Rich, zany, and imaginative, Mr. Lemoncello keeps up the wacky patter while matching wits with adults who think learning should be a whole lot more serious and less fun.

Violence & Scariness

One scene involves burning books.

Language

Occasional references to farts (Walter the Farting Dog, Smell-o-Vision version) and butts, such as:

"'You've played a lot of Mr. Lemoncello's games, haven't you, Kyle?'

"'Enough to know that most of his cheat cards eventually come back to bite you on the butt.'"

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics is the sequel to Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library and delivers more of what made Chris Grabenstein's first library adventure such a hit: likable heroes; mind-teasing puzzles and challenges; and a steady barrage of book references, educational tech, pop-culture shout-outs, and wisecracks, many of them from madcap genius and game developer Luigi Lemoncello himself. So many books get mentioned in the story (including those by Grabenstein's frequent coauthor James Patterson) that there's a multipage list of all the titles at the end of the book. The story presents strong messages about teamwork, cooperation, and putting aside your differences to work together when there's a problem. Learning is supposed to be fun here; the villains are adults who want to ban books they don't like and eliminate all the cool stuff. Expect a few brief references to butts and farts.

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Kid, 9 years old November 30, 2017

The Best Book In This Series Yet, A Novel Destined For Greatness

I found myself rereading this book more times than I could possibly imagine, or just flipping back through and rereading my favorite parts! A quick read, fans o... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old June 13, 2017

One of my favorites

I absolutely adore Mr. Lemoncello books! The book will have you rooting for the good characters and booing for the bad. It's really good! A great sequel! A... Continue reading

What's the story?

After their triumph in Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, Kyle and his teammates are basking in their celebrity status -- which backfires, as kids from all over wonder why they didn't get to compete. Soon Kyle, Akimi, Sierra, and Miguel, aka the Hometown Heroes, are squaring off with teams from around the country in MR. LEMONCELLO'S LIBRARY OLYMPICS, matching wits, skills, and teamwork in contests involving books, virtual reality, gaming skills, the Dewey decimal system, and a whole lot of problem solving. Meanwhile, unexplained things are happening, from the sudden arrival of long-lost relatives to the mysterious disappearance of entire categories of books. And, for reasons of their own, numerous adults seek to drive Mr. Lemoncello and his fun-based approach to learning out of town. Can the Hometown Heroes retain their title -- and save the best library ever?

Is it any good?

This satisfying sequel is stuffed with puzzles, puns, and virtual reality, plus zillions of book references and pop-cultural shout-outs, from Flora & Ulysses to Queen lyrics. Protagonists Kyle and his teammates are appealing and believable, and readers are sure to be introduced to a few dozen things they didn't know about as they delve deeper into mysterious anti-fun skullduggery. Some kids will find the sheer barrage of rebus-solving one minute and Dewey decimal system trivia the next a bit overwhelming, but many others will eat it up -- and really appreciate the included list of all the books mentioned so they can pursue what intrigues them. Much the same goes for the zany outbursts of banana-shoe-wearing billionaire Mr. Lemoncello, such as:

"'Fear not, Mrs. Gause,' cried Mr. Lemoncello. 'If anyone should ever again threaten this library, I will fly to its aid, much as I should've flown to it all those years ago. But alas, I was too busy doing business in Beijing to come home and save my beloved library, leaving you to ask 'Where's Waldo?' even though my first name was, and still is, Luigi. Moving on. I'd like to quote the lyrics of Rodgers and Hammerstein -- something that's extremely easy to do when you're in a library near 782.14 and all those magnificent Broadway show tunes -- 'I flit, I float, I fleetly flee, I fly!'"

"Mr. Lemoncello leapt off the railing."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about libraries. Have you been to your local library? What's it like? How was your last visit?

  • Sometimes -- in this story and in real life -- people do questionable things because they're convinced it's for a good cause, and then they learn something that makes them see things differently. Has this ever happened to someone you know? How did that person handle it?

  • How do you think libraries might be different if kids were in charge? What if they had lots of money?

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