Whether it's his adult mysteries or his adventures for kids, Chris Grabenstein's books are always entertaining. In his latest standalone, The Island of Dr. Libris, Grabenstein takes us into the world of imagination, showing that books have the power to come to life.
Billy Gillfoyle is spending the summer at the lake with his mother, although she's working on her dissertation. And, his father is staying elsewhere, leaving Billy a little uneasy. The twelve-year-old knows his parents' marriage is a little shaky. And, here he is, on his own in Dr. Libris' strange cabin filled with security cameras. There is a bookcase, though. Once Billy finds the key, he opens magical worlds. Or, at least a magical island. Dr. Libris' private island is a place where characters come to life. Once Billy reads about Hercules, Robin Hood and Maid Marian, he hears them on the island. When he takes a rickety boat over there, he finds his book characters have come to life. Of course, so have their enemies.
Billy finds a new friend, Walter, who shares his exploits on Dr. Libris' island. At the same time, he encounters Nick Farkas, the neighborhood bully. But, Billy discovers that his island encounters with his book heroes and their enemies will also prepare him for facing his own enemy, and his worst fear; his parents may separate. And, the entire time he deals with troubles on and off the island, the mysterious Dr. Libris is watching.
Chris Grabenstein has a marvelous talent for capturing the adventuresome spirit of twelve-year-olds. The Island of Dr. Libris is a charming tale that mixes books with reality. It's filled with heroes of childhood, fighting their way to success. And, Grabenstein adds a few comic book characters for the joy of it. Read the book aloud to your favorite youngster. Kids of nine to twelve will enjoy reading it, but it would be so much fun to share this book. The Island of Dr. Libris is adventure waiting to happen.
The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein. Random House. 2015. ISBN 9780385388443 (hardcover), 242p.
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