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Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
Study Guide
Prepared by Jen Kleinknecht, Media Specialist, H.B. Whitehorne Middle School, Verona, NJ

Common Core State Standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.3 Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.7 Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

Discussion Questions
Vocabulary Words

 Downloadable version of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library Study Guide (PDF)


Questions To Use As You Read:

Chapters 1-3

  1. Why did Kyle get grounded for a week?
  2. Describe Kyle, Curtis, and Mike Keeley.
  3. What game are the Keely's playing? Does it sound fun to you? Explain.
  4. Would you have kicked in the window just to win the game? Explain.
  5. Do you think Kyle's punishment was fair? Explain.
  6. Describe Dr. Yanina Zinchenko.
  7. What state is Alexandriaville in?
  8. Describe the new library.
  9. Why do you think the library's construction was kept a secret?
  10. What do you think is the coolest feature of the Alexiandriaville library?
  11. Why do you think it was so important for Kyle to defeat his brothers in the game?
  12. What is special about all of Mr. Lemoncello's games?
  13. Describe Sierra.
  14. Who is Kyle's best friend? Describe her.
  15. Why is Kyle interested in the extra credit essay?

Chapters 4-6

  1. Describe Charles Chilltington.
  2. What are two of Charles Chillington's mottoes?
  3. What do you think of Charles Chillington so far? Explain.
  4. Do you think Kyle has a chance at winning the contest? Explain.
  5. Who is going to be the final judge of the contest?
  6. Describe Miguel Fernandez and Andrew Peckelman.
  7. What is Mr. Lemoncello's connection to Alexandriaville?
  8. Describe Haley Daley.
  9. What do you think the author means when he writes that Haley "looked like a walking toothpaste commercial?"
  10. Do you think Kyle should bother writing a new essay? Explain.
  11. What happens when Kyle emails Mr. Lemoncello? Were you surprised when that happened?

Chapters 7-10

  1. Describe Dr. Yanina Zinchenko.
  2. What will the twelve winners of the essay contest receive?
  3. Describe Mr. Lemoncello.
  4. What are the three amazingly incredible things in the new library, according to Mr. Lemoncello on page 38?
  5. Who are the twelve winners?
  6. How do you think Kyle was chosen as a winner?
  7. What does Kyle do with his gift card?
  8. Whom does Kyle see at the toy store? What are they doing?
  9. What do Kyle and Akimi notice about their library cards?
  10. What is Dr. Zinchenko's number one rule?

Chapters 11-14

  1. Why is there a vault door on the library?
  2. Why are there no windows in the library?
  3. What two pieces of advice does Dr. Zinchenko give on page 53?
  4. Describe the Rotunda Reading Room.
  5. What is the first game, and what is the prize?
  6. Who wins the game in chapter 12?
  7. What rules does Mrs. Tobin explain in chapter 13?
  8. What is the second prize? How can the players win second prize?
  9. Where do Kyle and Akimi find dessert?
  10. Describe the Electronic Learning Center.
  11. What does Kyle discover on page 71 when he tries to open the front door?

Chapters 15-17

  1. What does Mr. Lemoncello tell the parents in chapter 15?
  2. What does Mr. Lemoncello explain about the next round of the competition in chapter 17?
  3. Who decides to leave the library?
  4. Why does Rose decide to leave? Why does she receive a prize from Mr. Lemoncello?
  5. When must the exit from the library be completed?
  6. What are the three lifelines?
  7. Would you have stayed and played the game, or would you have left? Explain.

Chapters 18-20

  1. What happens to Yasmeen?
  2. Do you think that Charles is playing fairly? Explain.
  3. What is Kyle's plan in chapter 19? Do you think that it will work?
  4. What leads Charles to the staff picks?
  5. Where do you think the clue that Charles discovers will lead?

Chapters 21-24

  1. Were you surprised by Haley's reaction when Kyle, Sierra, and Akimi rescue her on page 107? Explain.
  2. What do Kyle, Akimi, and Sierra receive at the end of chapter 21?
  3. Why does Haley want to win?
  4. What does Haley discover in chapter 22?
  5. Is Andrew Peckleman overreacting in chapter 23? Explain.
  6. Do you think Andrew has a good chance of winning? Explain.
  7. Do you think Kyle, Akimi, and Sierra should have formed an alliance with Miguel when they met him in chapter 24? Explain.
  8. What could be the "clever" back door short cut?
  9. Which player leaves the game in chapter 24?
  10. Do you think Sierra will try to win the game on her own, or do you think she will be loyal to Kyle and Akimi?

Chapters 25-27

  1. How does Kyle think "Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library" is like "Mr. Lemoncello's Bewilderingly Baffling Bibliomania?"
  2. What do you think of Andrew's behavior in chapter 25?
  3. Do you think Kyle and Akimi should help Miguel in chapter 25? Explain.
  4. What does Sierra reveal at the end of chapter 25?
  5. Who teams up in chapter 26?
  6. Why do Kyle and the others want to see the discarded library cards?
  7. Do you think they should play "Let's Do A Deal?" Explain.
  8. Who joins Kyle's team at the end of chapter 27?

Chapters 28-30

  1. What is the quote that solves the Phenomenal Picture Word Puzzler?
  2. Who teams up in chapter 28?
  3. Do you think Charles will share the prize with his teammates if he wins?
  4. Do you think playing Bibliomania is a good idea? Explain.
  5. What does Kyle receive after he uses his librarian consultation?
  6. What book has the call number 027.4? Who checked it out on May 26, 1964?
  7. How many clues does Charles' team have?
  8. Do you think the rebus will help Charles' team win?

Chapters 31-34

  1. Do you think that there is a glass elevator in Mr. Lemoncello's Library? Why or why not?
  2. On page 169, Kyle says, "It's possible that Mr. Lemoncello left a couple different paths to the same solution." Do you agree or disagree? Explain.
  3. What commandment does Kyle's team discover? What could it mean?
  4. What do you think of the way that Charles is playing the game? Explain.
  5. What does Haley do with the Bandits clue? Do you think Haley should have done that? Explain.

Chapters 35-37

  1. What scares Kyle's team away in chapter 35?
  2. What happens to Charles' team when they play "Let's Do a Deal" in chapter 36?
  3. What does Charles tell Andrew to do at the end of chapter 36?
  4. What do you think Charles is going to do to Sierra Russell?
  5. What does Mr. Lemoncello tell Kyle's team in chapter 37?
  6. Why does Charles lie to Andrew about Haley?

Chapters 38-40

  1. Were you surprised when Kyle tells Charles and Andrew that they should grab some books and read? Explain.
  2. How does Charles try to tempt Kyle in chapter 38?
  3. What clue does Haley discover in chapter 38?
  4. Whom does Kyle want to contact as his expert?
  5. What do Kyle and his teammates realize about the Bibliomania game in chapter 40?
  6. Where does Sierra tell her teammates to look for new Dewey Decimal numbers?

Chapters 41-44

  1. How does Sierra figure out that her team needs to look up at the Wonder Dome?
  2. In what section is the one book that the team really needs, according to Kyle at the end of chapter 41?
  3. How does Andrew get Sierra's library card?
  4. When does Sierra think they will get their last big clue?
  5. Do you think Miguel should have invited Haley to join his team? Explain.
  6. What does Haley reveal about Andrew in chapter 43?
  7. What is Andrew doing with his notepad in chapter 44?
  8. What happens to Andrew in chapter 44? Is it fair? Explain.

Chapters 45-47

  1. Should Charles have been told to leave the game, too? Explain.
  2. Why do you think Haley switched teams?
  3. Should Charles join Kyle's team while he has the chance?
  4. Who is the only person who knows where the exit is? Were you surprised?
  5. Based on chapter 46, do you think Charles will win? Explain.

Chapter 48-50

  1. Who takes an Extreme Challenge in chapter 48? Do you think he will succeed?
  2. Which "expert" does Charles want to contact in chapter 49? What is this expert's job?
  3. How does Kyle complete his Extreme Challenge? What does he find?

Chapters 51-54

  1. Do you think Charles will be able to contact Uncle Jimmy?
  2. What phrase does Kyle's team come up with?
  3. Where is Kyle's team going now? Why?
  4. Who were the Dandy Bandits?
  5. What happens to Charles? Is it fair?
  6. What is the solution to the puzzle?

Chapters 55-56

  1. How did the Dandy Bandits burrow into a bank vault?
  2. Why did Dr. Zinchenko want the children to read Get to Know Your Local Library and The Adventure of the Red-Headed League?
  3. What is Kyle's plan for the True Crime book?
  4. What did Akimi write about Kyle in her essay?
  5. Why doesn't True Crime Ohio move on the belt?
  6. What does Kyle's team have to do with the letters of Luigi L. Lemoncello?
  7. What happens to the "secret square" in chapter 55?
  8. Where does the tunnel lead in chapter 56?
  9. What is the last clue? What is the answer?


Discussion Questions:

  1. In his essay, Kyle writes, "Using a library can make learning about anything (and everything) fun. When you're in a library researching a topic, you're on a scavenger hunt, looking for clue and prizes in books instead of your attic or backyard." (p. 29) In your opinion, is doing research fun? Explain. How is researching a topic like doing a scavenger hunt?
  2. How is doing research in a library different from doing research at home?
  3. In the beginning of the story, Kyle's teacher and his mother compare him to his brothers. Have you ever been compared to your siblings or other students? How did it make you feel?
  4. In Mr. Lemoncello's library, there are no windows and there is a vaulted door. Do you think there should be windows and a different type of door? Or do you agree with Dr. Zinchenko's explanations for the vaulted door and the lack of windows? (pages 52-53) Explain.
  5. On the statue of Mr. Lemoncello, there is the following quote: "Knowledge not shared remains unknown." What do you think that quote means?
  6. Mr. Lemoncello's library has many amazingly incredible features, such as the robots, the Electronic Learning Center, and the Wonder Dome. Which feature was your favorite? Why? Do you think you will ever see these features in a real library someday? Explain.
  7. On page 98, Charles says, "You should never help your competition." Do you agree or disagree? Explain.
  8. Why does Haley "play dumb?" Do you think people do that in real life? Explain.
  9. On page 126, the Lemoncello dummy says, "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game." Do you agree or disagree? Explain.
  10. On page 208, Kyle quotes Sherlock Holmes who says, "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data." What does that quote mean?
  11. On page 214, Miguel says. "A library should be a know-place for know-bodies." What does that mean?
  12. Should Miguel invite Andrew to be a Library Aide? Explain.



  1. Who were the best players of the game? Who were the worst players? Write an essay comparing and contrasting the best and worst players of the game.
  2. Which character has changed the most from the beginning of the story? Write an essay explaining your choice. Use examples from the story.
  3. Many interesting topics are mentioned in Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, such as the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915, the Dewey Decimal System, James Audobon, and Johannes Gutenberg. There are also many famous authors mentioned, such as Lewis Carroll, Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, Maya Angelou, Agatha Christie, and Edgar Allan Poe. Choose one of these topics or choose a topic from the book that you what to know more about. Do research using books and websites. Write a report or give a presentation on your topic.
  4. The titles of several books are mentioned in Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library. Look at the list of books on pages 261 and 262. Read as many books from that list as you can!


Determining the Meaning of Words and Phrases in a Text

Carefully read the examples below. Try to figure out the meaning of the bold words by using context clues. Then choose the best answer.

1. "Mr. Lemoncello is the top secret benefactor who donated all the money to build the new public library. Five hundred million dollars!" (page 25)

The word benefactor as it is used above means:
  1. Director
  2. Planner
  3. Builder
  4. Donor

2. "Twelve years ago, this town lost its one and only public library when it was torn down to make room for an elevated parking garage. Back then, many said the Internet had rendered the 'old-fashioned' library obsolete." (page 33)

The word obsolete as it is used above means:
  1. Outdated
  2. Unpopular
  3. Destroyed
  4. Silly

3. "The boys would roll out their sleeping bags in the Children's Room. Charles Chiltington would be luxuriating all alone in Mr. Lemoncello's private suite." (page 70)

The word luxuriating as it is used above means:
  1. Feeling Lonely
  2. Getting Lost
  3. Being Spoiled
  4. Staying Awake

4. On page 77, the author describes Charles by writing, "The smarmy guy was oiler than a soggy sack of fries. He was even sucking up to a hologram."

The word smarmy as it is used above means:
  1. Phony
  2. Dirty
  3. Slippery
  4. Ugly

5. "Can we go with the abridged version? We're in a bit of a rush." (page 135)

The word abridged as it is used above means:
  1. Lengthened
  2. Shortened
  3. Complete
  4. Translated