Friday, October 18, 2013

Case Study No. 1060: Dr. Yanina Zinchenko

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library book trailer
Looking for a good Puzzle Mystery? Then solve the puzzles in this trailer to learn the name of a terrific new book that's been called by blogger Emily Rosenbaum "a book-lover's book, a game-lover's book, a sink-into-something-delicious-lover's book. Twelve kids win an essay contest and get to do an overnight in the town's new library, a facility way beyond state-of-the-art that fulfills the fantasy of every nine-year-old child with holographic librarians, talking mannequins, and hovercrafts to retrieve books. And let's not forget the game room.

The kids soon learn that they're actually in a contest to find the secret exit. Mr. Lemoncello -- the billionaire who built the library -- provides them with clues that they need to decipher to find their way out. The clues and the game are great, especially for kids who've read a lot. The storyline is even better, with crisp text and engaging characters. Plus, there's the library, which would make any junior bibliophile drool. Or, say, any thirty-nine-year-old bibliophile...

"Remind me that this is the best book ever," my son said. "It might even replace Percy Jackson."

I'd tell you how it ends, but my kid took it to school with him"
Tags: books middle grades Mr. Lemoncello library librarian fun Chris Grabenstein mystery
Added: 7 months ago
From: cgrabber1955
Views: 935

[scene opens with sped-up footage of a man browsing the stacks of a library, as "Looking for a fun new puzzle mystery?" appears on screen]
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, if you're looking for a fun new puzzle mystery, here's a suggestion from Mister Lemoncello's library!
[cut to a still image of the letter "S", a "plus" sign, and a silhouette of Batman]
ANNOUNCER: Oh, I see. It's a puzzle! Okay, "s plus Batman" ... "Sbatman!"
[cut to a still image of a silhouette featuring a well-dressed couple standing next to the letter "P"]
ANNOUNCER: And some fancy dancers who need to pee ...
[an "equal" sign and the letter "F" appear next to the "P"]
ANNOUNCER: No no, "p equals f" ...
[cut to a still image of a silhouette of a little girl standing on a chair]
ANNOUNCER: Wow, she looks like my sister!
[the letter "S", an "equal" sign, and the letter "M" appear next to the girl]
[cut to a photograph of a lemon]
ANNOUNCER: Fruit! Uh ... lemonade!
[cut to a still image of a silhouette of a man playing the cello]
ANNOUNCER: That thing Yo Yo Ma plays!
[a "plus" sign, an apostrophe, and the letter "S" appear next to the cello]
[cut to a still image of a silhouette of a man reading a book]
[cut back to the sped-up footage of the man in a library]
ANNOUNCER: Well, I have absolutely no idea what that was all about!
[cut to a still image of the cover of "Escape from Mister Lemoncello's Library"]
ANNOUNCER: But for fun, excitement, actions, and puzzles ... read "Escape from Mister Lemoncello's Library!"
[cut to the previous clues being shown one after the other in quick succession (with Batman signifying "cape", the couple signifying "prom", and the little girl signifying "sister"]
ANNOUNCER: Oh, wait a minute ... "Escape from Mister Lemon-Cello's Library!"
[cut back to the cover of the book]
ANNOUNCER: That was the name of the book!
["Chris Grabenstein / Random House" appears on screen]
ANNOUNCER: New, from New York Times best-selling author Chris Grabenstein, and Random House Childrens' Books!



Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
Author: Chris Grabenstein
Release date: June 25, 2013
Age Range: 8 and up

Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library.

Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high.

In this cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night in the Museum, Agatha Award winner Chris Grabenstein uses rib-tickling humor to create the perfect tale for his quirky characters. Old fans and new readers will become enthralled with the crafty twists and turns of this ultimate library experience.



Kyle isn't brainy or athletic like his brothers-- he just likes to play games. In school, this usually gets him into trouble, but when there is an essay contest to win a $500 gift card and an overnight stay in the new town library, his slacker ways and gaming ability work to his advantage. Luigi Lemoncello, game maker extraordinaire, feels that the town library in Alexandriaville, Ohio, and the librarian there, were instrumental in his his success, so he has donated a state-of-the-art library. Since the old library was torn down twelve years previously, he wants to introduce the young people of the town to the wonders of a public library by giving twelve of them the opportunity to use the library resources... to figure out a way out of the library! There are challenges, contests, and not everyone will last the entire time. Kyle and his friends band together against the evil, khaki and blazer wearing Charles Chiltington to solve the puzzles and win the reward.

Strengths: Holographic librarians from the 1960s, a Wonder Dome of HD screens displaying Dewey divisions, and staff picks that are the keys to the clues-- how could I not like this book? Fans of The Westing Game and other clue oriented mysteries will love this one, especially if they are avid readers and get the literary references. The interactions of the children on the teams is also fun, and the best part was all the details about the fantastical library. Grabenstein is a great writer; I particularly like his Haunted Mystery series.

Weaknesses: Kyle is portrayed as a goof at the beginning of the book but changes the minute his essay wins. He's almost too responsible during the game .Games of all kinds irritate me, so I didn't work through the clues, which would have made this more fun!



Halfway across town, Dr. Yanina Zinchenko, the world-famous librarian, was walking briskly through the cavernous building that was only days away from its gala grand opening.

Alexandriaville's new public library had been under construction for five years. All work had been done with the utmost secrecy under the tightest possible security. One crew did the exterior renovations on what had once been the small Ohio city's most magnificent building, the Gold Leaf Bank. Other crews - carpenters, masons, electricians, and plumbers - worked on the interior.

No single construction crew stayed on the job longer than six weeks.

No crew knew what any of the other crews had done (or would be doing).

And when all those crews were finished, several super-secret covert crews (highly paid workers who would deny ever having been near the library, Alexandriaville, or the state of Ohio) stealthily applied the final touches.

Dr. Zinchenko had supervised the construction project for her employer - a very eccentric (some would say loony) billionaire. Only she knew all the marvels and wonders the incredible new library would hold (and hide) within its walls.

Dr. Zinchenko was a tall woman with blazing-red hair. She wore an expensive, custom-tailored business suit, jazzy high-heeled shoes, a Bluetooth earpiece, and glasses with thick red frames.

Heels clicking on the marble floor, fingers tapping on the glass of her very advanced tablet computer, Dr. Zinchenko strode past the control center's red door, under an arch, and into the breathtakingly large circular reading room beneath the library's three-story-tall rotunda.

The bank building, which provided the shell for the new library, had been built in 1899. With towering Corinthian columns, an arched entryway, lots of fancy trim, and a mammoth shimmering gold dome, the building looked like it belonged next door to the triumphant memorials in Washington, D.C. - not on this small Ohio town's quaint streets.

Dr. Zinchenko paused to stare up at the library's most stunning visual effect: the Wonder Dome. Ten wedge-shaped, high-definition video screens - as brilliant as those in Times Square - lined the underbelly of the dome like so many orange slices. Each screen could operate independently or as part of a spectacular whole. The Wonder Dome could become the constellations of the night sky; a flight through the clouds that made viewers below sense that the whole building had somehow lifted off the ground; or, in Dewey decimal mode, ten sections depicting vibrant and constantly changing images associated with each category in the library cataloging system.

"I have the final numbers for the fourth sector of the Wonder Dome in Dewey mode," Dr. Zinchenko said into her Bluetooth earpiece. "364 point 1092." She carefully over-enunciated each word to make certain the video artist knew what specific numbers should occasionally drift across the fourth wedge amid the swirling social-sciences montage featuring a floating judge's gavel, a tumbling teacher's apple, and a gentle snowfall of holiday icons. "The numbers, however, should not appear until eleven a.m. Sunday. Is that clear?"

"Yes, Dr. Zinchenko," replied the tinny voice in her ear.

Next Dr. Zinchenko studied the holographic statues projected into black crepe-lined recesses cut into the massive stone piers supporting the arched windows from which the Wonder Dome rose.

"Why are Shakespeare and Dickens still here? They're not on the list for opening night."

"Sorry," replied the library's director of holographic imagery, who was also on the conference call. "I'll fix it."

"Thank you."

Exiting the rotunda, the librarian entered the Children's Room. It was dim, with only a few work lights glowing, but Dr. Zinchenko had memorized the layout of the miniature tables and was able to march, without bumping her shins, to the Story Corner for a final check on her recently installed geese.

The flock of six audio-animatronic goslings - fluffy robots with ping-pongish eyeballs (created for the new library by imagineers who used to work at Disney World) - stood perched atop an angled bookcase in the corner. Mother Goose, in her bonnet and granny glasses, was frozen in the center.

"This is librarian one," said Dr. Zinchenko, loud enough for the microphones hidden in the ceiling to pick up her voice. "Initiate story-time sequence."

The geese sprang to mechanical life.

"Nursery rhyme."

The geese honked out "Baa-Baa Black Sheep" in six-part harmony.

"Treasure Island?"

The birds yo-ho-ho'ed their way through "Fifteen Men on a Dead Man's Chest."

Dr. Zinchenko clapped her hands. The rollicking geese stopped singing and swaying.

"One more," she said. Squinting, she saw a book sitting on a nearby table. "Walter the Farting Dog."

The six geese spun around and farted, their tail feathers flipping up in sync with the noisy blasts.

"Excellent. End story time."

The geese slumped back into their sleep mode. Dr. Zinchenko made one more tick on her computer tablet. Her final punch list was growing shorter and shorter, which was a very good thing. The library's grand opening was set for Friday night. Dr. Z and her army of associates had only a few days left to smooth out any kinks in the library's complex operating system.

Suddenly, Dr. Zinchenko heard a low, rumbling growl.

Turning around, she was eyeball-to-icy-blue-eyeball with a very rare white tiger.

Dr. Zinchenko sighed and touched her Bluetooth earpiece.

"Ms. G? This is Dr. Z. What is our white Bengal tiger doing in the children's department? I see. Apparently, there was a slight misunderstanding. We do not want him permanently positioned near The Jungle Book. Check the call number. 599 point 757. Right. He should be in Zoology. Yes, please. Right away. Thank you, Ms. G."

And, like a vanishing mirage, the tiger disappeared.


Curtis and Mike were already in the kitchen, chowing down on the last of the good Toaster Tarts - the frosted cupcake swirls. They'd left Kyle the unfrosted brown sugar cinnamon. The ones that tasted like the box they came in.

"New library opens Friday, just in time for summer vacation," Kyle's mom mumbled, reading her computer screen. "Been twelve years since they tore down the old one. Listen to this, boys: Dr. Yanina Zinchenko, the new public library's head librarian, promises that 'patrons will be surprised' by what they find inside."

"Really?" said Kyle, who always liked a good surprise. "I wonder what they'll have in there."

"Um, books maybe?" said Mike. "It's a library, Kyle."

"Still," said Curtis, "I can't wait to get my new library card!"

"Because you're a nerd," said Mike.

"I prefer the term 'geek,'" said Curtis.

"Well, I gotta go," said Kyle, grabbing his backpack. "Don't want to miss the bus."

He hurried out the door. What Kyle really didn't want to miss were his friends. A lot of them had Sony PSPs and Nintendo 3DSs.

Loaded with lots and lots of games!

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