The Missouri Reader Vol. 41, Issue 1 - Page 42


Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Book Review By: Latonya Mekis

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is a classroom must have. It is a good read aloud for grades 3rd-5th with a 4.5 AR level. This action fiction follows young Kyle in an adventure of a lifetime. His favorite game designer, Mr. Lemoncello, comes to town when the old library is rebuilt. Kyle and his friends from school enter into an essay contest to win the chance to meet him. The wacky Lemoncello takes the kids into the library for a lock-in to remember. Lemoncello has more in store for the children than a little sleepover. When morning comes, the library doors do not budge. Clues, riddles, rhymes, and word scrambles are the key. Kyle and the others must crack the codes to unlock the door. The winners will take home the prize of all prizes.

Chris Grabenstein’s writing is clear and easy to understand. He draws you into his world and keeps you turning pages. I gave this book five stars. It is a fun read to which all students can relate. They know how Kyle feels when dealing with a bully or not completing assignments. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is about games and cracking codes. The author provides pictures of the codes throughout the book, so you and your class can follow along. Students can try to solve them on their own or with a group. The book is an all-around winner with something for every reader

Raving Reviews:

A look at today's best trade books

Remembering Dianne de Las Casas, Founder of Picture Book Month

By Glenda Nugent

Dianne de Las Casas, a friend of the Missouri State Council and contributor to The Missouri Reader, was killed in a house fire on August 21 in Harvey, LA. She was an author, storyteller, and founder of Picture Book Month. Dianne was the author of more than two dozen books, including The Cajun Cornbread Boy and The Gigantic Sweet Potato (both Pelican, 2008, 2010). She recently started a publishing company, Write Hook Media, John Couret to focus on antibullying.

Many friends and family members have expressed their love and admiration for Dianne on social media. Here is just a sample of the tributes to Dianne:

She will be remembered as the life of the party, the diva, the artistic and very creative person, the organizer, the loving mom, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and a lot more things, too many to mention. -- Josie Chretien, her mother

She had a sparkle that could light up a room and captivate whoever she met. -- Joyce Wan, author and illustrator

The Winter 2016 issue of The Missouri Reader featured an interview with Dianne de Las Casas on pg 22: issue-2/0861777001474577784

Dianne de Las Casas SPARKLES! Her passion for reading and her bubbly personality shine and sparkle for anyone who comes in contact with her when she tells her stories or whenever a reader picks up one of her books…. Not only does she write the books, she makes them come alive by presenting them to adults and children. Author and award-winning storyteller Dianne de Las Casas sparkles on stage with “traditional folklore gone fun!” Dianne adapts traditional folklore and draws her audiences into the fun.”

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat

Book Review by: Amanda Lampe

The theme of The Adventures of Beekle is to go out and make things happen. Don’t wait for them to happen to you. If you can imagine it, it can happen. The story can be taken very literally, or if discussed figuratively it can be used to have interesting and intriguing discussions. This is a fiction book that can be further categorized as fantasy due to the fantastically imaginative elements in the story. There is a magical place where imaginary friends live together waiting to be imagined by a little boy or girl. Beekle watches so many of his friends being imagined and joining their little boy or girl to play that he decides to go in search of his own little boy or girl and encounters many adventures along the way. The theme of this book is to go out and make things happen; don’t wait for them to happen to you. The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend can be differentiated for many different grade levels and is an appropriate read aloud for K-6.

Dan Santat has won awards for his illustrations and he writes stories to compliment his amazing creations. The illustrations are the true treasure of this book. This book is fun to read aloud and needs to be read so that students can see and study the pictures. They are an integral part to the story and students will be enthralled with them. No matter how many times you read the story students will find a new hint or clue in the pictures that will make the story more interesting. The pictures will answer questions and then make you have more questions. There are many lessons that can be taught with this one book. I would give this book a 5 star rating!!