Monday, April 25, 2016

Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein

Splendiferous Greetings and Salutations!

Well, Mr. Lemoncello's wonderful library has been open for a while now and is a big success.  You may remember that in Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, kids were invited to play his Library Lock-In game just prior to the opening of the town's first library in 12 years.  The lucky winners of this challenge were then featured on all of the Christmas advertisements for Mr. Lemoncello's games - video and board.

Now, due to popular demand, there's a new challenge at the Alexandriaville, Ohio's only library.  This time it's a duodecimalthon, consisting of 12 games all of which relate to the Dewey Decimal system.   Kids from all over the country are invited to compete for a place on regional teams, who then arrive in Alexandriaville to compete with the original winning team - Kyle Keeley, Miguel Fernandez, Akimi Hughes Sierra Russell and Haley Daley.  Sore loser Charles Chiltington and his officious mother are also back doing their best to sabotage the Olympics, and so is Andrew Peckleman.  Andrew is still angry over the first challenge and now so totally anti-library, he is content to just clean up and fill bird feeders in his spare time at the motel his newly-met -great-uncle-twice-removed had recently purchased.

Kyle, who has been rather cocky about his win and his subsequent fame, is a little worried about being able to defend his teams title, especially after meeting Marjory Muldauer, who main goal is to take Kyle down.  Marjory seems to know everything there is about the Dewey Decimal system, as opposed to Kyle, who seems to know nothing about.   But there a full scholarship for the wining team at stake and that is something that Marjory really desperately needs.  And she shares the belief with Mrs. Chiltington and Charles that a library should be just a library and it  and not a place for games, videos, holograms of famous scholars, as well as books.

So desperate, in fact, that when she is approached by Mrs. Chiltington to remove just one book from the library, with the promise of ending Mr. Lemoncello's antics and inappropriate library games, and a Go to College Free card, the offer just may be too much for Marjory to resist.

But when more and more books turn out to be missing from the library's shelves, it looks like someone is trying to censor what people may read.  Or maybe it's just another sinister plot to oust Mr. Lemoncello and turn to library into a traditional library.  Or maybe it's all of those things.  But will Kyle and Marjory and the other kids be able to override their competitive spirits and band together to solve the mystery of the missing books.

I found myself reluctant to pick up Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics when I first got it.  So often sequels are such let-downs.  Not this one.  It is every bit as much fun as the first novel.  Once again, Grabenstein showcases a large variety of books throughout the course of the novel (and there is a list of all the books mentioned at the back of the book, too).

For those readers already familiar with Escape from Mr. Lemomcello's Library, you'll slip right into this sequel; for those who haven't read the first book, no problem.  There's enough background given to let you know what is going on.

And would that Mr. Lemoncello's library really existed!  Oh well, at least, we have the next best thing - a book set in that splendiferous place.  And it is a fun, action-packed novel filled with games and even a couple of rebus puzzles readers can try to solve along with the characters.  And in true Grabenstein form, and in light of the banned books and censorship theme (one among many) in the novel, the last chapter is a challenge to the reader - to find the 20 things Mr. Lemoncello said in this volume that come from books once banned.

This is a book sure to please middle grade readers whether they like games or not and always remember that

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was received from the publisher

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