Participants in one of Luigi Lemoncello’s board-games–without-a-board discover the value of careful research and teamwork.
Middle schooler Kyle Keeley and his mostly white friends and fellow trustees of the splendiferous Lemoncello Library are delighted when its founder, the irrepressible inventor, offers them another challenge: a Fabulous Fact-Finding Frenzy that will take them far from home. Kyle, a boy from Mr. Lemoncello’s hometown of Alexandriaville, Ohio, who often jumps to conclusions, is paired with hijabi Abia Sulayman from Boston. Her serious, careful approach (disappointingly, expressed in stiffly formal, mostly contraction-free syntax) turns out to be a good counterbalance––and both are eager to win until their research turns up information that could destroy the Lemoncello reputation, threatening his game-building empire and their beloved library. Luckily, all four of the finalists in this research game team up to dig deeper to find the true facts. This third volume of a popular series will be equally welcomed. As before, Grabenstein blends suspenseful adventure, humor, and wishful thinking, seasoning it with riddles, rebuses, wonderful wordplay, and plentiful allusions to children’s literature. He makes some political statements, too. At one point, Lemoncello’s lawyer reminds the researchers that “public opinion can often be swayed by emotion with little regard for facts.” At another, Muslimah Abia reminds her friends to judge people as individuals rather than members of a group.
Good entertainment with some meaningful messages. (Fiction. 9-14)