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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.
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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?
- Author: Chris Grabenstein
- Genre: Mystery
- Topics: Book Characters, Friendship
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Random House
- Publication date: January 5, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 288
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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