Mr. Lemoncello’s Very First Game (Mr. Lemoncello’s Library #0)

Mr. Lemoncello’s Very First Game (Mr. Lemoncello’s Library #0)
Age Range
Release Date
May 03, 2022
Buy This Book
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!
Can Luigi crack the codes and unlock the box's secrets? Will there be puzzles? Of course! Balloons? You bet! Will it be fun? Hello! It’s a Lemon-cello! BONUS! Can YOU crack the hidden puzzle inside?!

Editor review

1 review
All for fun, and fun for all!
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
It’s nice to see a young protagonist without any superpowers using his imagination to create games. His determination is evident as he continues to pursue new, fun ideas despite negative comments from his older brothers and sisters. He has dreams of becoming the world’s first “bajillionaire” even though his family currently struggles to pay rent for their apartment. He’s motivated by a desire to help his hard-working father financially, and he hopes to prove to his older sister that there’s more to games than just having fun. When Luigi gets frustrated or depressed (which is very rare), it’s nice to see him get inspiration from the words of his mentor, Professor Marvelmous, at the traveling carnival.
Luigi’s family lives in an Italian neighborhood in Alexandriaville, Ohio, in 1968, and Luigi faces common social problems. Socio-economic prejudice is at the forefront, as more affluent characters call Luigi and his friends “riffraff” and flaunt their wealth. This includes adults who try to control the town. Two high-school bullies frequently insult Luigi and wave their money around to display their self-importance, and their disdain for Luigi becomes more personal. Their fathers own the bank and many businesses in town, and the boys use that as a weapon against Luigi. Luigi and his friends call themselves the three musketeers, but Bruno lacks Luigi’s enthusiasm for games. Luigi most enjoys the process of problem-solving, while Bruno thinks prizes are most important. Events strain the boys’ bond and have unexpected consequences.
The book will appeal to game lovers, as that’s the central theme of the whole story. Luigi is obsessed with them, and he has a talent for inventing new ones and for solving puzzles. The pages are filled with his innovative ideas for new games, as he tries to create one that will become widely popular. In addition, Luigi gets a temporary job at a summer carnival when Professor Marvelmous hires him to help with his booth called Balloon-Centration. The game combines throwing darts with solving rebus puzzles, so readers will have many opportunities to solve picture messages. Luigi also enjoys playing a local radio station’s daily contests that pose questions for listeners to answer. This gives readers additional chances to practice their thinking skills before Luigi reveals the solutions.
What didn’t work as well:
Luigi is almost too positive and kind to be true. He diffuses confrontational situations with the bullies by using humor and wit, which quickly drops the tension. Actually, it postpones the tension until later in the book when the bullies make it their mission to stifle Luigi’s plans.
The Final Verdict:
All for fun, and fun for all! This book is a prequel to the “Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” series, so it’s not necessary to have read all of the previous books. Overall, this is a light-hearted story that allows kindness and creativity to persevere over meanness. If you’re looking for a fun book to read, I recommend you give this one a shot.
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