Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Library Race by Chris Grabenstein

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Originally published in: 2017

What it’s about: A group of kids have to prove their library benefactor, Luigi Lemoncello, hasn’t stolen intellectual property in a high-stakes trivia scavenger hunt.

What made me pick it up: It was recommended to me by a young reader from the library.

My favorite parts: This book is incredibly fun! Not only does Grabenstein weave in details from other children’s books but he makes his characters continuously profess their admiration for libraries and librarians. I’ll read any book that is essentially a love letter to my profession. But more than that, this book is wildly entertaining. Outlandish? Sure, but we’re dealing with a fictional bazillionaire here. I really liked how even though I expected things to turn out ok in the end, I wasn’t really sure they would and remained on the edge of my seat down to the final pages. It also has a nicely done information literacy storyline that emphasizes over and over to the characters the need to search for reliable sources and consider alternative explanations before jumping to conclusions. Since this is book #3, I’ll head back to the beginning and work my way through the other two books.

Who it’s great for: Upper elementary readers on up.

Erica’s rating: four and a half shells


Find this book in your local library or on Amazon (affiliate link).


 

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

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Originally published in: 2007

What it’s about: An orphaned boy living in a train station in Paris where he steals food to survive and takes care of the clocks.

What made me pick it up: Abby said it contained a lot illustrations so it was practically a graphic novel.

My favorite things: This book is like reading through a silent film. The illustrations are breathtaking, and rightly so, since this was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 2008 for illustrated work. I don’t think I’ve felt so strongly for a character since Harry Potter. Now this is no HP but there are a lot of similarities. It follows a boy on his own as he makes friends and works to solve a mystery before time runs out all while trying to protect his secrets. Magic might be involved. This was heartfelt and also very fun. Plus it flies by so the 533 pages are done in a blink. Seriously, I started this after work and was so drawn in I finished it in one sitting.

Who it’s great for: Readers of all ages. HP fans. Film buffs, especially from the early days of movies. Those looking for adventure.

Erica’s rating: five-shells


Find this book in your local library or on Amazon(affiliate link).


 

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

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Originally published in: 2012

What it’s about: A man escapes his nursing home on his 100th birthday and goes off on a new adventure.

What made me pick it up: It was suggested by Amazon when I was watching the film version of A Man Called Ove. Since I hadn’t read the book, I knew I should before watching the movie. I can’t seem to stay away from old men going on adventure novels, so this was right up my alley.

My favorite things: Allan Karlsson is a great character. Both hapless and lucky, he reminded me strongly of Forrest Gump. And speaking of adventures, he sure has had a lot of them – meeting world leaders, affecting key moments in history. I enjoyed tagging along on all of them, including those that took place in the present day. This jaunt was just a lot of fun.

Who it’s great for: Anyone who liked Arthur Pepper or Harold Fry. Those looking to go on an journey through history and around the world.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Pick up a copy of this book at Amazon (affiliate link) or your local library.


 

Pax by Sara Pennypacker


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What it’s about: Peter is a 12 year old boy and Pax is fox. They’ve been inseparable since the day Peter rescued Pax as a kit. Now they are being forced apart, but will go the distance to find their way back each other.

What made me pick it up: I actually picked this one up because the cover is so compelling.

My favorite things: Wow, reading Pax felt like getting punched in the gut-in a good way! Peter and Pax have an incredible bond, and I loved that we got to read about it from both of their perspectives. I was surprised to find that this story is really as much about war as it is about friendship. I wasn’t expecting war to feel as close as it does. Pennypacker does a great job of making war very real and very personal. Despite the heavy themes, Pax is mostly a story about love and friendship and how they can flourish even in troubled times. You’ll definitely want a box of tissues on hand before you dive into this one.

Who it’s great for: Tweens who can handle some graphic content. Those looking for a story of resilient love and friendship. Fans of The Fox and the Hound.

Abby’s rating: three-shells