Mr. Lemoncello’s Very First Game by Chris Grabenstein is a puzzle-solving, game-lovers prequel to the beloved Mr. Lemoncello book series. Readers will meet Mr. Lemoncello when he was a young kid and they will meet the people who influenced him to become the man he is today.
This title was a great read and was one of the titles chosen for my online School Year Book Clubs for ages 8-10 in 2023. It proved to be a popular read for all of the students that year and for many, it was the first book they read in this series.
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Mr. Lemoncello’s Very First Game
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Length: 304 pages
First Published: 2020
Mr. Lemoncello’s Very First Game
Go back to the START and meet thirteen-year-old, PUZZLE-obsessed Luigi Lemoncello!
Luigi has a knack for games and puzzles. But sometimes it feels like the cards are stacked against him. UNTIL a carnival arrives in town and Luigi gets the CHANCE OF A LIFETIME: the opportunity to work for the world-famous Professor Marvelmous, a dazzling, banana-hat-wearing barker who puts the SHOW in SHOWMAN! When the carnival closes, Professor Marvelmous leaves behind a mysterious puzzle box along with a clue. A clue that will lead Luigi and his friends on a fantastical treasure hunt to a prize beyond anything they could imagine–if they can find it!
My Goodreads Review
Before Kyle Keely and his friends began their library puzzle-solving adventure, the creator of their favorite games was a kid himself. Now readers can step back in time and get to know the puzzle-obsessed Luigi Lemoncello before he was a world-famous game maker.
In this prequel to the Mr. Lemoncello series, readers will return to the beginning and meet thirteen-year-old, game-obsessed Luigi Lemoncello! Luigi loves solving puzzles and creating games for his friends. But sometimes he just doesn’t feel like there will be any way for him to succeed in life with his game-playing obsession until he meets Professor Marvelmous at the town carnival. Professor Marvelmous opens Luigi’s mind to the joy that game playing can bring to the people around him. Now Luigi and his friends find themselves on an adventurous puzzle-solving quest created for them by Professor Marvelmous. If they can solve it in time, the prize will be beyond anything they can imagine.
This book was such a fun prequel to the Mr. Lemoncello series by Chris Grabenstein. Kids will enjoy seeing the roots of the well-known characters from the future series. Fans of the series will recognize quite a few of the last names in this book. While this book can be enjoyed on it’s own, I personally think it works quite well as a prequel to be read after the other books.
I appreciated the message about being who you are and embracing your own uniqueness. Kids of all ages can appreciate seeing someone learn to embrace what makes them unique and using it to bring joy to others.
And like all of the wonderful books in this series, kids will find plenty of puzzle-solving fun along the way!
Discussion Questions for Your Homeschool Study
1. Read the opening three paragraphs. What type of opening hook did the author use to try and grab your attention? Did it work?
2. Luigi finds it hard to be himself because he doesn’t think he can succeed in life with the things he loves. There are people in his life who make it hard to be himself and there are people who encourage him to be himself. Name some of the characters who make it hard – how do they make it hard for him? Name some of the characters that support and encourage him – how do they do that?
3. Luigi likes games because they have the same set of rules for everybody — which seems not to happen in real life so much, in his experience. Do you think playing games gives you skills and knowledge that come in handy in real life? How?
4. Mr. Lemoncello’s Very First Game is the prequel to a current book series. It shows us characters we know and love (or not!) as their much younger selves. Do you like seeing them at an earlier time and place? Does it make you like or understand them better?
Homeschooling with Books:
Discussion Questions to Get You Started
Grab this set of questions designed to facilitate discussion about any book:
Elementary School Titles for Your
Next Homeschool Study
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Mr. Lemoncello Series
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