Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

Written by: Chris Grabenstein

For parents of independent readers, we provide a set of questions that should give you insight into what your child is reading and help you engage him/her in meaningful conversations about literature. We recommend using the questions provided here as a springboard for deeper conversation about Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library and what your child takes away from the book. Enjoy!


Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent 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 building of the new town library.

Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high.

In this cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night in the Museum, Agatha Award winner Chris Grabenstein uses rib-tickling humor to create the perfect tale for his quirky characters. Old fans and new readers will become enthralled with the crafty twists and turns of this ultimate library experience. (Random House)

Pre-Reading Activity

KWL Chart

Create a K-W-L Chart and have your child fill in the first two columns with information that s/he knows and wants to find out about the story. S/he can fill in the last column, "What I Learned", once s/he has finished the story.

What I Know

After reading the summary of the story, let your child think about what s/he already knows about the story. Who are the main characters? What is the story going to be about?

What I Want to Know

Include questions that your child might have about the plot, characters and setting. 


Things to Consider

Ask your child what genre s/he thinks this story will be. Have him/her think about books that s/he has read that are in that genre, as well as some common characteristics of books in this genre. Also have him/her be mindful of these characteristics while s/he reads so that s/he can point them out in the book. 


Discussion Question

  1. How does Kyle feel about researching a topic in the library? Why does he feel that way? Do you feel the same way? 
  2. Describe Mr. Lemoncello's library. What was your favorite feature? What is your local library like? Do you like going there? Why/why not?
  3. Do you identify with any one character in particular? How are the two of you similar? How are you different?
  4. The quote on Mr. Lemoncello's statue reads, "Knowledge not shared remains unknown." What does this quote mean? Do you agree?
  5. What happens when Charles tries to tempt Kyle in chapter 38?
  6. Did you have any questions about the story while you were reading? If so, were they answered by the end? If they weren't, what do you think the answers might be now that you've gotten through the whole story?
  7. This story is described as a cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night in the Museum. Do you know these two stories? If so, can you see the similarities between the stories? How so?


Above all, be sure to engage your child in a discussion about the plot line and his/her thoughts and feelings about the book. Ask what s/he likes, encourage exploration related to the book, and every now and again, offer to read parts of the book aloud, just for fun!

Extending the Story

The author, Chris Grabenstein, has created the Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Escape Game for children to play in their own hometown library! Find out how you can get the files to the game here, grab a few of your child's friends and get ready to have your own Lemoncello- style library scavenger hunt!