Reviews for The island of Dr. Libris

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Grabenstein follows up his best-selling Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library (2013) with another playful title paying homage to classic works of literature. Billy Gillfoyle is not thrilled at the prospect of spending his summer stuck at Dr. Libris' weird lake cabin with his mom, who's too busy finishing her dissertation to entertain him. Throw in a neighborhood bully and the potential of his parents splitting up, and Billy's summer is off to an awful start. But when the characters in the books he reads start coming to life from Hercules to Robin Hood to Pollyanna Billy's summer quickly goes from dull to adventurous, even dangerous. Grabenstein's economical prose is perfectly suited for this novel, which teems with appeal for a variety of readers, from those who will catch all the literary references to those who enjoy a good fight scene. Readers will appreciate Billy's cleverness in solving his ever-growing problems, as these literary characters make plenty of trouble outside the confines of their intended stories. Effortlessly readable and a whole lot of fun. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The publisher is banking on the popularity of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library there's a national tour and major media exposure in the works for Grabenstein's latest.--Barnes, Jennifer Copyright 2010 Booklist


School Library Journal
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Gr 4-7-Billy is not thrilled to be spending the summer in a cabin on a lake in the middle of nowhere. His mom and dad aren't together, and he's worried this change may be permanent. Their cabin is owned by Dr. Libris, who also owns the mysterious island in the lake. With a lack of technology, and bullies as neighbors, Billy resorts to searching for a key to open the bookcase in Dr. Libris' study. What he unlocks brings classic books to life-when he reads the books, he hears the action somehow occurring on the island. Curious, he ventures out to the island to explore and discovers the unbelievable-somehow the stories he is reading are actually happening. When he meets Hercules, Zeus, Robin Hood, Tom Sawyer, and others, he becomes embroiled in their adventures and unwittingly causes the storylines to collide. When Billy brings his neighbors, Walter, and Walter's sister, out to the island, they all face treacherous foes including the giant from Jack in the Beanstalk and a space lizard from Walter's comic book. Billy is left trying to figure out whether Dr. Libris is behind everything, whether his own mind may be the culprit, and whether or not he can use the island to help save his parents' marriage. While the plot is unique, the story feels too far-fetched to be believable, and lacks the magic of Grabenstein's Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library (Random, 2013).-Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
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Billy is spending the summer in a cabin on a lake with no TV, internet, or video games. The cabin's owner, Dr. Libris, has a large collection of books that Billy is welcome to use if he can find the key to the bookcase cabinet. Needing distraction, Billy tackles puzzles in the library until he finds the key. He begins reading The Twelve Labors of Hercules when he looks up he notices an island in the middle of the lake where two enormous men are fighting; Billy conjured up Hercules and Antaeus simply by reading about them. Grabenstein mixes up a melange of characters from the books Billy (and eventually two neighbor children) reads, with Hercules, Robin Hood, the Three Musketeers, Maid Marian, and Pollyanna coming together in dangerous escapades. Even modern myths show up: video game creatures and wizards from trading cards. Reader Heyborne gives each a quirky trait that adds even more color to the story. For example, he gives Robin Hood a delightful over-the-top laugh; the Musketeers have recognizably French accents but are easily understandable; and the video game Space Lizard's ultra-hissy sibilant voice will give listeners shivers. Heyborne's performance conjures up the magic of literature and the excitement of summer. Ages 8-12. A Random hardcover. (Mar.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Twelve-year-old Billy and his mom rent a summer cottage from the mysterious Dr. Libris, who is sneakily conducting experiments on Billy's imagination. Billy can read characters to life--Hercules, Robin Hood, the Three Musketeers--creating fiction-fueled adventures with his friend, Walter. Dr. Libris's lab notes are interspersed with humorous, quick-paced, action-packed chapters. A list of books mentioned is appended. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Billy Gillfoyle discovers that a powerful imagination can bring characters from booksand comic books, video games and role-playing-game cardsto life.Unhappily spending the summer with his mother in a lakeshore cabin she's rented from a university colleague, the 12-year-old finds no Internet or TV but plenty of books in a locked cabinet. (Finding the key is a relatively easy puzzle.) When he reads The Trials of Hercules in Dr. Xiang Libris' library, he hears the voices of Hercules and Antaeus outside. They're fighting on an island just offshore. Reading Robin Hood, he hears the sound of swordplay. When he explores the island the next morning, he meets the characters he heard, not only brought to life, but also interacting with each other. Grabenstein's similarly powerful imagination unfurls a grand series of adventures in which Billy and neighbor Walter Andrews are pursued by the Sheriff of Nottingham, search for buried treasure with Tom Sawyer and save Billy's parents' failing marriage. In this entertaining literary romp, the author includes references to over 20 classic tales, from Aesop's Fables to Holes. For curious readers, he's listed the titles at the end, but familiarity with these stories is not required to appreciate this fast-paced fantasy. Readers will wish their summers were so eventful. (Adventure. 9-13) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Grabenstein (Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library) delivers a science-based variation on the theme of fictional characters being brought to life. When Billy's mathematician mother, who has been studying the concept of parallel universes, explains to him that "Some people refuse to accept the limits given to them by others," the 12-year-old doesn't give the statement another thought-until he discovers he can make impossible things happen through the power of his imagination, combined with reading. With his parents headed toward a likely divorce, Billy is spending a "boring" summer with his mother in a rental cottage, but a foray into the library of the absent owner, Dr. Libris, leads Billy to an island where fictional characters appear. Grabenstein mixes up a melange of characters from the books Billy (and eventually two neighbor children) reads, with Hercules, Robin Hood, the Three Musketeers, Tom Sawyer, and even Pollyanna coming together in dangerous escapades. While the adventures are not especially suspenseful, the story moves at a quick pace and has a good-natured tone that makes for a light but satisfying read. Ages 8-12. Agent: Eric Myers, Spieler Agency. (Mar.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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