The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein

Island of Dr. LibrisInformation

Goodreads: The Island of Dr. Libris
Series: None
Source: Library
Published: March 2015


Billy is spending the summer with his mother at the lakeside cabin of one of her colleagues, Dr. Libris, but unfortunately, there’s nothing to do–no television, no phones, no video games.   Forced to read, Billy opens the bookcase and dives into a world of magic and adventure.  But soon the clangs of swords and the crashes of giants seem to sound real.  Is it just Billy’s imagination or are the stories coming to life?


The Island of Dr. Libris takes readers on a light-hearted romp through the world of classic literature, seamlessly combining characters as diverse as Robin Hood, Pollyanna, and Hercules in an adventure that borders on the ridiculous yet never feels anything but believable.  The book, in fact, embraces its somewhat absurd plot, encouraging its audience to let go and simply enjoy the experience of reading–where literally anything can happen.

This is one of those rare books that I actually wish had a sequel.  It has heart as well as humor, featuring a protagonist dealing with the imminent divorce of his parents, a beautiful friendship between two boys, and a powerful message about not only making the right choices in the face of difficult by also one about allowing others the freedom to make their own choices.  This, combined with all the fun of running through Sherwood with Robin Hood, facing giants with Hercules, and trying to think of the right literary elements to defeat a villain, make this middle-grade a sure winner for readers of all ages.

The only part I lament is the somewhat abrupt ending.  The island, after all, is still out there, waiting to be peopled with fictional characters.  Surely such a wonderful celebration of the imagination deserves another outing.

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