Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

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Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
AuthorChris Grabenstein
Cover artist[ [David Kyle] ]
CountryUnited States
PublisherRandom House
Publication date
June 25, 2013
Media typePrint (Hardback)

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is a children's novel by author Chris Grabenstein. It was on the New York Times bestseller list for Middle Grade novels for 111 weeks between 2013 and 2016, peaking at #8 in hardback and #2 in paperback.[1][2]

Grabenstein has stated that the book contains a secret puzzle that readers can decode. To solve it, he offers some advice given by Mr. Lemoncello in the book: "Forget the Industrial Revolution, my first idea might be your best solution."[3] The code is used with the first letters of each chapter. The answer is "THOSE WHO KNEW WHERE TO LOOK HAVE NOW SOLVED EVERY PUZZLE IN THE BOOK."


12-year-old Kyle Keeley is obsessed with the board games of Mr. Lemoncello, the world's most renowned game maker. Big news hits his town when Mr. Lemoncello tears down a bank to embark on his latest project: a state-of-the-art, top-secret library, and he's holding an essay contest where 12 winners can spend one night in a lock-in before the library's opening. Although Kyle misses the essay deadline, he rewrites his essay to email it to Mr. Lemoncello despite a reply that the sending had been unsuccessful. But Kyle's knowledge of games and his friends' knowledge of books and libraries are put to the test when they have to play the biggest game yet; having to escape from the library using only their wits and the clues scattered around the library's different sections.


Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library was a New York Times bestseller for Children's Middle Grade and received positive reviews. Giving it a starred review, Kirkus Reviews praised the book as a "solid, tightly plotted read" full of puzzles and puns.[4] Publishers Weekly called it "that perfect book that isn’t girly or boyish, but is just a good book for any middle-grade reader."[5] Reviewers (including author James Patterson, a frequent collaborator of Grabenstein's) also compared the book favorably to Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.[6][7]

The novel was also the 2013 winner of the Agatha Award for Best Children's/Young Adult Novel.[8] This was the fourth time that Grabenstein won this award, the first for his novel The Crossroads.

It has also won several Children's Choice State Book Awards:

Arizona, Grand Canyon Reader Award Delaware, Blue Hen Book Award Florida, Sunshine State Young Readers Award Indiana, Young Hoosier Book Award, Intermediate Kansas, William Allen White Children’s Book Award Maine, Student Book Award Maryland, Black-Eyed Susan Book Award Minnesota, Maud Hart Lovelace Award Mississippi, Magnolia Award Missouri, Mark Twain Readers Award Nebraska, The Golden Sower Award New Hampshire, Great Stone Face Book Award New Jersey, Garden State Book Award North Dakota, Flicker Tale Children’s Book Award Ohio, Buckeye Children’s and Teen Book Award Oregon, Reader’s Choice Award Pacific Northwest Library Association, Young Reader’s Choice Award Rhode Island, Rhode Island Children’s Book Award Tennessee, Volunteer State Book Award Vermont, Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Virginia, Virginia Reader’s Choice Award

In 2016, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library was awarded the Mark Twain Readers Award by the Missouri Association of School Librarians.[9]


A sequel titled Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics was released on January 6, 2016. There is also a third book, Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race, which was released in October 2017.


Director, McAboy and Writer, Grabenstein

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library has been optioned by Nickelodeon as a television movie, and filming was done in Vancouver BC, Canada.[10][11]

The film stars Casey Simpson as Kyle Keeley, Breanna Yde as Akimi, Klarke Pipkin as Sierra, A.J. Louis Rivera Jr. as Andrew Peckleman, Ty Nicolas Consiglio as Charles Chiltington, Russell Roberts as Mr. Lemoncello, Kari Wahlgren as the voice of Charlotte from Charlotte's Web, and Dana Snyder as the voice of the Troll from Three Billy Goats Gruff.[12][13]

The release date for the movie was October 9, 2017.[14]


  1. ^ "Children's Middle Grade". The New York Times. August 11, 2013. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  2. ^ "Children's Middle Grade". The New York Times. July 27, 2014. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  3. ^ Dowling, Brendan (August 14, 2013). "A Thank You Note to Librarians: A Conversation with Chris Grabenstein". Public Libraries Online. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  4. ^ "Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library". Kirkus. June 25, 2013. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  5. ^ Grossenbacher, Emily (May 7, 2015). "Galley Talk: 'Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library'". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  6. ^ "Recommendations from the mind of James Patterson". The Washington Post. December 6, 2013. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  7. ^ Westmoore, Jean (July 28, 2013). "Summer Reading for Young People: Adventures at 'Lemoncello's Library,' Buckingham Palace and more". The Buffalo News. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  8. ^ "The Agatha Awards". Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  9. ^ "2015-2016 MASL Readers Awards Winners".
  10. ^ "In Production". Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  11. ^ "'Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library' Optioned by Nickelodeon (Exclusive)". The Wrap. February 19, 2014. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ New Movie Trailer 'Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library' 📚 | Premieres October 9th on Nick

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Mark Twain Award
Succeeded by
The War That Saved My Life