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The Island of Dr. Libris
New York Times Bestseller

Where stories come to life!

Billy Gillfoyle's spending the summer in a lakeside cabin that belongs to the mysterious Dr. Libris. But something strange is going on. Besides the security cameras everywhere, there's Dr. Libris's private bookcase. Whenever Billy opens the books inside, he can hear sounds coming from the island in the middle of the lake. The clash of swords. The twang of arrows. Sometimes he can even feel the ground shaking. It's almost as if the stories he's reading are coming to life! But that's impossible . . . isn't it?

Celebrate the power of imagination with this action-packed adventure that shows that sometimes the real story starts after you close the book!

Check out the new stage play based on the book!

Random House Children's

To purchase a personalized copy, please contact:
Book Culture on Columbus
450 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY, 10024
Phone 212-595-1962

Random House Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, March 2015, ISBN-13: 978-0385388443

Cafe Press

Book It Game


The Indie Next List


  • Spring 2015 Indie Next Pick
  • One of Amazon's Best Books of the Year 2015: Ages 9-12

"A wonderful tale...a complete original."
   —James Patterson, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Grabenstein's ... powerful imagination unfurls a grand series of adventures. In this entertaining literary romp, the author includes references to over 20 classic tales... but familiarity with these stories is not required to appreciate this fast-paced fantasy... Readers will wish their summers were so eventful."

"Grabenstein follows up his best-selling Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library (2013) with another playful title paying homage to classic works of literature.... 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."

"Chris Grabenstein gleefully plunders great works of literature for his cast of secondary characters in The Island of Dr. Libris, a madcap mash-up that 8- to 12-year-olds will want to devour in big gulps.
Mr. Grabenstein keeps emotional complexity to a minimum—though Billy is pained by his parents' separation and menaced by local bullies—the better to enjoy the zany fun of bringing together characters as disparate as Hercules, Pollyanna, Robin Hood and a monster from Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth. With the addition of a videogame space lizard and the Sheriff of Nottingham (who shouts 'curses and foul language!' whenever he is thwarted), this enjoyable caper gets progressively nuttier until Billy hits on a way to ensure a happy ending for everyone, including his troubled family."
   —Wall Street Journal

"Though the premise is familiar, kids will enjoy the cartoonish mayhem, especially given Grabenstein's breezy narrative voice and jaunty wit."
   —The New York Times

"I am sure that, as a child (and probably as an adult, too) all book lovers dreamed of characters from stories coming to life. The Island of Dr. Libris is the closest to this kind of wish fulfillment we may get. That said, you don't have to be a book lover or have read any of the classics woven into the story to get swept up by The Island of Dr. Libris. Maybe Chris Grabenstein is the Jasper Fforde (author of the hilarious Thursday Next series—among others—set in a world where literature is revered above all else and Next is a detective solving literary crimes) of kid's books? Either way, I hope he continues writing fantastic literary mysteries!"

"The Island of Dr. Libris is fast paced, compulsively readable and full of humor and adventure."

"A brilliant novel by the author of bestselling Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, Chris Grabenstein has once again woven a fantastical, fast-paced action tale of imagination that ultimately delivers the sound message of the power and delight of the written word."
   —The Times Herald

Meet M.C. Escher
The artist who created Billy's "impossibly sideways staircases."

M.C. Escher M.C. Escher

In THE ISLAND OF DR. LIBRIS, Billy stares at "a framed black-and-white drawing of people with bulb-heads walking up and down all these impossibly sideways sets of stairs or walls that faked you into thinking they were floors."

This is the print that's on the wall:

M.C. Escher

It was created by M.C. Escher, a Dutch artist famous for his mathematically inspired woodcuts and lithographs. Dr. Libris has several framed Escher prints hanging on the walls of his cabin. Here's the one that's in Mrs. Gillfoyle's room:

M.C. Escher

Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) is one of the world's most famous graphic artists. His art is enjoyed by millions of people all over the world, as can be seen on the many web sites on the internet.

He is most famous for his so-called impossible constructions, such as Ascending and Descending, Relativity, and his Transformation Prints, such as Metamorphosis I, Metamorphosis II and Metamorphosis III, Sky & Water I or Reptiles.

To learn more about the art of M.C. Escher, visit his official website!


The Many Labors of Flat Hercules

In Greek mythology, the goddess Hera made Hercules lose his mind and commit a horrible crime. When he woke up from his "temporary insanity," Hercules begged the gods for forgiveness. For his crimes, he was sentenced to perform twelve Labors, feats so difficult that they seemed impossible. By the end of these Labors, Hercules was, without a doubt, Greece's greatest hero.

You can read more about The Labors of Hercules here.


Cut him out and put him to work! (Click the image for a .pdf version you can download and print.)

Flat Hercules

What can Flat Hercules do at your school or library?

  • Climb the jungle gym?
  • Restock books?
  • Visit an historic landmark?
  • Feed the class turtle?
  • Climb the highest mountains?

Take a picture of Flat Hercules in action. Send it to author@ChrisGrabenstein.com

The best, funniest, and most clever photos will be posted on Chris's official Facebook page.