Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library TV Poster Image
Book adaptation has mild scares, friendship, adventure.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 4 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

Doesn't teach kids much, but does reinforce the value of reading skills by dropping the characters into rooms inspired by famous stories like Charlotte's Web, The Wizard of Oz, and The Tell-Tale Heart.

Positive Messages

Kids see the tweens collaborate to solve puzzles and decipher clues in an escape game. A shared goal unites formerly antagonistic classmates, one of whom sees the error of his bullying ways and makes amends, and makes new friends in the process. The tweens enjoy the feeling of a job well done when they complete their escape task.


Positive Role Models & Representations

Kyle discovers leadership qualities he didn't know he had, and Charles learns the value of working with people instead of trying to control them. Classmates forge new friendships and strengthen existing ones as a result of their unique experience in the library challenge.


Violence & Scariness

Tweens face all kinds of surprises and scares in Mr. Lemoncello's cutting-edge library, and there are some scenes of genuine peril. There's a giant spider, monsters, vampires, and a wicked witch, to name a few. Two characters aim arrows at the kids.


Sexy Stuff

Some name-calling like "losers" and "wuss."


The movie is inspired by a book of the same name by Chris Grabenstein.


Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is an adventure movie based on the book of the same name by Chris Grabenstein. There are some mild scares and surprises as the kids explore the library, especially in the horror section where they encounter vampires and other monsters. The building's many unusual features include trapdoors and holograms, plus magical pictures and print that pose puzzles to the kids. Positive themes of friendship and teamwork are offset by one character's chronic bullying, which causes rifts among the kids for most of the story but does reach a happy end eventually.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10-year-old Written bycjcavolo April 13, 2020

fine for younger, just not good

this was a poorly produced, poorly acted very scattered tv type movie. didnt make any sense and just very random. just a VERY lame attempt at a Harry Potter a... Continue reading
Adult Written bySMBM December 21, 2018

Terrible Movie and Not Like the Book at All

This movie is a generic children's movie with a hero character, his friends and a bully. The inventiveness, cleverness and whimsy of the book is absent. If... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old May 27, 2020

Super Good

Excellent movie. I also read the books. Just really good.
Kid, 12 years old March 29, 2018
Pretty different from the book but has fun teamwork and adventure.

What's the story?

In ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO'S LIBRARY, eccentric game maker Luigi L. Lemoncello (Russell Roberts) turns an abandoned bank building into a futuristic library and devises a unique challenge to tweens to celebrate its opening. The winners of an essay contest are treated to a night in the one-of-a-kind library, cracking clues and solving puzzles to find their way out and win the game. It's a dream come true for Mr. Lemoncello's biggest fan, Kyle (Casey Simpson), who teams up with his friends Sierra (Klarke Pipkin) and Akimi (Breanna Yde) to outsmart their nemesis, Chiltington. With storybook characters and other surprises at every turn, there's no telling how this adventure will end.

Is it any good?

Grabenstein's well-received mystery story inspires this wacky movie that's all fast-paced fun and laughs. Reminiscent of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the story features characters at the mercy of the whims of a peculiar gaming genius and his elaborate (and frequently malfunctioning) library. While they solve riddles and break codes, the kids must also elude storybook characters and work together, even with difficult peers.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library's numerous nods to books and stories will delight those who are familiar with them, and they could encourage kids' interest in those they haven't read or heard. The story also raises some worthwhile talking points about getting along with others and about bullying, which is prominent in one character's behavior until he has a change of heart. For parents, it's a great opportunity to show how bullying affects other people and why it's important to consider peers' feelings when relating to them.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the role of libraries in their lives. Do you and your family visit a library on a regular basis? What services other than books do libraries provide?

  • Kids: Which characters in this story were familiar to you from books you've read or heard? What role do they play in Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library?

  • How do these characters demonstrate teamwork as they complete the challenge? Does teamwork always come easy to the group? How do they resolve conflict when it arises? Why do you think it's an important character strength

TV details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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For kids who love fantasy

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