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The Island of Dr. Libris

March 24, 2015


librisChris Grabenstein
is the author of several children’s books including Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, which is a delightful combination of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwiler and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The Island of Dr. Libirs could very well be in the same world as Mr. Lemoncello’s fabulous library. But it also might not. It is certainly fantastical enough, but there are never any direct references to the previous book. Also, the title reference to The Island of Dr. Moreau is deliberate, but not predictive.
Dr. Libris is running an experiment and it just so happens that Billy Gillfoyle, the son of one of his co-workers, is the perfect subject. So, the offer of a vacation at the good doctor’s lovely lakeside cabin is not entirely altruistic. Or, actually, at all altruistically.
There are security cameras covering the entirety of the grounds. There is a bookcase that seems to cause strange noises to come from the island in the middle of the lake.
Billy rows out and runs into the characters from the books he’s been reading. At first, Billy thinks they are just very clever actors, but soon the truth dawns on him; he can make people come to life by reading about them. This is not always a good thing. Especially when he gets the Sheriff of Nottingham shot with an arrow.
Now, Billy has to figure out how to wrangle a set of fictional characters, keep his new friend Walter and Walter’s younger sister from getting caught up in the craziness on the island, and in his spare time, he has to dodge the local bully and try to figure out what’s going on with his parents.

The Island of Dr. Libris wasn’t quite as fun for me as Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, but then, I’m a librarian. I might be biased. How many of us have dreamed about being able to bring our favorite books to life? I would absolutely experiment with Dr. Libris’s wacky equipment. And then I’d probably get killed by something I shouldn’t have read about, but it might be worth it.

It’s a very fast read, so if you like middle-grade books it’s well worth your time.
The Island of Dr. Libris comes out today from Random House.

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