Agatha Award winner Chris Grabenstein, author of several middle school books, pens another humorous novel combining the elements of an adventure and a mystery.
In The Island of Dr. Libris, twelve-year-old Billy Gillfoyle’s dad drops him off for a ten-week stay on a private island his mother rented. Billy is unaware that he is actually participating in a field test for Dr. Xiang Libris. When Billy drops his iPhone and is without other forms of electronic entertainment, he is forced to turn to books for his entertainment.
Billy finds the key to a locked bookcase. When he opens one of the books in Dr. Libris’ library, strange things begin to happen. Billy begins interacting with the characters in the text. His adventures take place with Hercules, Robin Hood, Pinocchio, The Three Musketeers, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Pollyanna, Jack and the Beanstalk, Alice in Wonderland, and more.
Most of the characters originate from classic “boy” stories, so this book might not appeal to girls as much as Grabenstein’s Lemoncello books do. While this book is imaginative and humorous, it doesn’t hold the reader’s attention as much as his other books do. The author references over twenty titles — but readers don’t need to be familiar with these titles to enjoy this book. However, it is an enjoyable read, especially for fans of Inkheart (Cornellia Funke).
Recommended for school and public libraries for older elementary and middle school students.
Carol R. Gehringer
—reprinted with permission, Christian Library Journal, 2016.