by Chris Grabenstien, published 2013
“Early access to the Electronic Learning Center will be tonight’s second prize,” said Dr. Zinchenko. “To win it, you must use the library’s resources to find dessert, which we have hidden somewhere in the building. ..So use your wits and use your library. Go find dessert!”
Welcome to the library of the future, and a brand new children’s book that glorifies reading, research, and most of all, honest team work. This very odd children’s book is both totally contemporary as well as futuristic. It is set in a brand new library, where ten children are engaged in a carefully constructed game to find a secret exit. The reader gets to play along with everyone, as the clues are deciphered.
The book’s premise and it’s main adult character, Mr. Lemoncello, are reminiscent of the creations of wacky Roald Dahl. The book is also filled with almost innumerable references to other children’s books, both classic and very contemporary, that become clues to the game. Because of that literary component, some of the content might be lost on children who are not avid readers. And that’s one of the points. The literary references are lost on the main character Kyle, who realizes through this library adventure that perhaps the library and reading offer something that endless game playing does not. You couldn’t ask for a better message for today’s kids…put down the games, and pick up a book from time to time.
I like the book, despite its somewhat far fetched scenario. I especially like the way the personalities of the children unfold, as we see that honesty and team work are the only way to succeed in anything. And I must admit, I did enjoy it when I knew some of the book references. As for the ones I missed, they are now on my reading list too! A good book for any good reader age 10 and up.