Mr. Lemoncello's very first game

Chris Grabenstein

Book - 2022

Everybody starts somewhere, and once upon a time Luigi Lemoncello was a twelve-year-old boy in a large family who dreamed of being a showman; he gets his first chance working for a famous barker at a summer carnival where a mysterious puzzle leads him and his friends on a treasure hunt.

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Grabenstein, Chris. Mr. Lemoncello's library ; 0.
Action and adventure fiction
Humorous fiction
New York : Random House Children's Books [2022]
First edition
Item Description
Prequel to the Mr. Limoncello's Library series.
Physical Description
275 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Ages 8-12.
Main Author
Chris Grabenstein (author)
Review by Booklist Review

In this prequel to a series dear to the hearts of game and puzzle fans--not to mention librarians--13-year-old Luigi L. Lemoncello confirms his calling to become the greatest game designer ever while picking up experience in putting on a grand show, fending off bullies, and making people happier. Hoping to help support his big, financially strapped family, middle child Luigi jumps at the chance to work with wise, genial, fast-talking barker Professor Marvelmous, who runs a booth at the summer carnival where prizes can be won by popping balloons and guessing the rebuses hidden behind them. Along with depicting numerous rebuses so that readers can have at them too, Grabenstein tucks connections to subsequent episodes into his tale, including taglines ("Knowledge not shared remains unknown") and characters like Luigi's inventive friend Chester Raymo and sneering nemesis Chad Chiltington. Also, in the course of following a series of clues left by Marvelmous to a life-changing reward for his beloved niece Maggie, Luigi invents a string of entertainments, from an author/title treasure hunt in his local library--using books that were popular in 1968 when all this is set (and mostly still are today)--to an early version of Wordle. An "awesometastic" lead-in likely to inspire a wave of revisits to the earlier books.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Mr. Lemoncello's Library was a New York Times best-seller, and fans of the blockbuster series will be thrilled to puzzle their way through the future famed game-maker's origin story.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Luigi Lemoncello gets inspiration from a master showman. After writing five successful adventures starring legendary billionaire Prof. Lemoncello, Grabenstein looks back in time to 1968, when young Luigi, the seemingly talentless middle child in a large Italian American family, realizes that his love for puzzles and games is his personal gift. When the 13-year-old successfully solves the rebus puzzle and attracts more customers to the Balloon-centration booth at a summer carnival, barker Prof. Marvelmous offers him a job. Marvelmous becomes a mentor; his niece, Maggie, a friend. She and Luigi visit the library regularly, follow treasure hunts offered by a local radio station, and work together to discover the secrets of the elaborate puzzle box Marvelmous has created. The author offers hints and instructions for solving the puzzles and has left one more (plus his email address) for readers to solve on their own. The fast-paced narrative includes good reading suggestions, popular music from the '60s, and occasional solid advice. As in earlier books, there's stress on the importance of teamwork and empathy--young Luigi is as thoughtful and caring as a teenager as he is later as the donor of a splendid library and instigator of brain-teasing contests. Luigi's bullying blond nemesis, Chadwick Chiltington, is likely the father of Charles from previous series entries. Splendiferous--and sure to lead readers back to previous puzzle adventures. (excerpt from Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library) (Fiction. 8-14) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.