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Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library


Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

Carolyn Gruss

Official Links




Published by Random House Books for Young Readers, 2013

2016-2017 Winner - Intermediate


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets A Night in the Museum in this action-packed New York Times Bestseller from Chris Grabenstein, coauthor of I Funny, Treasure Hunters and other bestselling series with James Patterson!

Kyle Keeley is the class clown and a huge fan of all games—board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the construction of the new town library. Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot as one of twelve kids invited for an overnight sleepover in the library, hosted by Mr. Lemoncello and riddled with lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors stay locked. Kyle and the other kids must solve every clue and figure out every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route!

Don’t miss bonus content in the back of the book—extra puzzles, an author Q&A, and more! And look for the next puzzle-packed adventure—Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics—in January 2016!

"Chapter 4" from ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO'S LIBRARY by Chris Grabenstein, copyright © 2013 by Chris Grabenstein. Used by permission of Random House Children's Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.



“So exactly what kind of games are we talking about?”


“I don’t know,” said Akimi. “Fun book stuff, I guess.”
“And do you think this new library will have equally new computers?”
Kyle nodded slowly. “And this all takes place Friday night?”
“Akimi, I think you just discovered a way for me to shorten my most recent groundation.”
“Your what?”
“My game-deprived parental punishment.”
Kyle figured being locked in a library with computers on Friday night would be better than being stuck at home without any gaming gear at all.
“Can I borrow a pen and a sheet of paper?”
“What? You’re going to write your essay now? On the bus?”
“Better late than never.”
“They’re due in homeroom, Kyle. First thing.”
“Fine. I’ll keep it brief.”
Akimi shook her head and handed Kyle a notebook and a pen. The bus bounced over a speed bump into the school driveway.
He would need to make his essay really, really short.
He was hoping the twelve winners would be randomly pulled out of a hat or something and, like the lottery people always said in their TV commercials, you just had to “be in it to win it.”


Meanwhile, in another part of town, Charles Chiltington was sitting in his father’s library, working with the college student who’d been hired to help him polish up his extra-credit essay.
He was dressed in his typical school uniform: khaki slacks, blue blazer, button-down shirt, and tastefully striped tie. He was the only student at Alexandriaville Middle School who dressed that way.
“What a big word for ‘library’?” Charles asked his tutor. “Teachers love big words.”
“‘Book repository.’”
“Bigger, please,”
“Um, ‘athenaeum.’”
“Perfect! It’s such a weird word, they’ll have to look it up.”
Charles made the change, saved the file, and sent the document off to the printer.
“Your dad sure reads a lot,” said his ELA tutor, admiring the leather-bound books lining the walls of Mr. Chiltington’s home library.
“Knowledge is power,” said Charles. “It’s one of our fundamental family philosophies.”
Another was We eat losers for breakfast.


Kyle and Akimi climbed off the bus and headed into the school.
“You know,” said Akimi, “my dad told me the library people had like a bazillion different architects doing drawings and blueprints that they couldn’t share with each other.”
“How come?”
“To keep everything super secret. My dad and his firm did the front door and that was it.”
The second they stepped into Mrs. Cameron’s classroom for homeroom period, Miguel Fernandez shouted, “Hey, Kyle! Check it out, bro.” He held up a clear plastic binder maybe two inches thick. “I totally aced my essay, man!”
“The library dealio?”
“Yeah! I put in pictures and charts, plus a whole section about the Ancient Library of Alexandria, Egypt, since this is Alexandriaville, Ohio!”
“Cool,” said Kyle.
Miguel Fernandez was super enthusiastic about everything. He was also president of the school’s Library Aide Society. “Hey, Kyle-you know what they say about libraries?”
“Uh, not really.”
“They have something for every chapter of your life!”
While Kyle groaned, the second bell rang.
“All right, everybody,” said Mrs. Dana Cameron, Kyle’s homeroom teacher. “Time to turn in your extra-credit essays.” She started walking up and down the rows of desks. “The judges will be meeting in the faculty lounge this morning to make the preliminary cut. . . .”
Crap, thought Kyle. There were judges. This was not going to be  a bingo-ball drawing like the lottery.
“Mr. Keely?” The teacher hovered over his desk. “Did you write an essay?”
“Yeah. Sort of.”
“I’m sorry. I don’t understand. Either you wrote an essay or you didn’t.”
Kyle halfheartedly handed her his hastily scribbled sheet of paper.
And unfortunately, Mrs. Cameron read it. Out loud.
“ ‘Balloons. There might be balloons.’ ”
The classroom erupted with laughter.
Until Mrs. Cameron did that tilt-down-her-glasses-and-glare-over-them thing she did to terrify  everybody into total silence.
“This is your essay, Kyle?”
Yes, ma’am. We were supposed to write why we’re excited about the grand opening and, well, balloons are always my favorite part.”
“I see,” said Mrs. Cameron. “You know, Kyle, your brother Curtis wrote excellent essays when he was in my class.”
“Yes ma’am.”
Mrs. Cameron moved on to the next desk. Miguel eagerly handed her his thick booklet.
“Very well done, Miguel.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Cameron!”
Kyle heard an odd noise out in the parking lot. A puttering, clunking, clanking sound.
“Oh, my,” said Mrs. Cameron, “I wonder if that’s him!”
She hurried to the window and pulled up the blinds. All the kinds in the classroom followed her.
And then they saw it.
Out in the visitor parking lot. A car that looked like a giant red boot on wheels. It had a strip of notched black boot sole for its bumper. Thick shoelaces crisscrossed their way up from the windshield to the top of a ten-foot-tall boot collar.
“It looks just like the red boot from that game,” said Miguel. “Family Frenzy.”
Kyle nodded. Family Frenzy was Mr. Lemoncello’s first and probably most famous game. The red boot was one of ten tokens you could pick to move around the board.
A tall, gangly man stepped out of the boot car.
“It’s Mr. Lemoncello! gasped Kyle, his heart racing. “What’s he doing here?”
“It was just announced,” said Mrs. Cameron. “This evening, Mr Luigi Lemoncello himself will be the final judge.”
“Of what?”
“Your library essays.”