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Mr. Lemoncello and the Titanium Ticket (Mr. Lemoncello's Library)

de Chris Grabenstein

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Game-maker extraordinaire Luigi Lemoncello is building something secret. And hidden deep inside his secret building there is one . . . and only one . . . titanium ticket.

When the building is finished, four lucky boys and girls will participate in a spectacular scavenger hunt, zooming through life-size live-action games, each one of which will get them closer to the well-concealed titanium ticket. The boys and girls must complete the hunt and solve the phrase that is the key to finding the ticket. Mr. Lemoncello promises that the lucky winner of the titanium ticket will join an elite group of kids who will compete for ownership of Lemoncello Gameworks and all things Lemoncello.

With a ticket search and the prospect of winning the company, "Mr. Lemoncello and the Titanium Ticket" pays homage to Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” while delivering its message of kindness and empathy and encouraging collaborative teamwork. As with the earlier books in the series, there is sufficient backstory here for the book to work as a stand-alone, but the previous books are filled with so much fun that readers are sure to want to read the earlier four stories.

This fifth installment of the Lemoncello Library series brings some new characters into the amazing Lemoncello competitions. Soraiya Mitchell is as kind and fair as bully Jack McClintock is mean-spirited and duplicitous. Simon Skrindle is the kid that everyone roots for, the one kid that’s far smarter and much more capable than anyone realizes. Kyle, Haley, Akimi, and Andrew all have a part to play in these new games, serving as advisors to the other competitors who’ve won the right to move on to the next level in the search for the titanium ticket.

As the plot takes some surprising twists, the unfolding story draws the readers into the mystery of the secret construction and then into the excitement of the games themselves. As in earlier books, the main part of the story involves Lemoncello-created games. Here the participants are interacting with life-size games . . . and those games are ones every reader will recognize: Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Battleship, Stratego, Rubik’s Cube, Rush Hour, Don’t Break the Ice, and, oh, so many more. It’s almost as much fun looking for classic board game names as it was looking for middle-grade book titles in the earlier stories. And, as in previous books, there are word puzzles, riddles, and rebus puzzles throughout the story that readers can figure out right along with the characters in the contest.

There are some moments of solemnity and seriousness amid the fun and games, mostly surrounding Simon and his particular backstory. The revelations surrounding it and the newest Lemoncello building give readers some unexpected insight into Luigi Lemoncello’s background.

The targeted audience here is the middle school reader, but these endearing stories, with their strong emphasis on thinking, with their intransigent messages of compassion, friendship, and kindheartedness, have earned themselves a far larger following. With mega-doses of amazing Lemoncello legerdemain, readers will find much to appreciate here. And there is no doubt that, as soon as readers finish this book, they will already be anxiously awaiting the next installment in this magical series.

Highly recommended. ( )
  jfe16 | Oct 19, 2020 |
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