Random House Books for Young Readers (March 24, 2015) 256 pages
What if your favorite characters came to life? Billy’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?
My Rating: 4/5 stars
This book has a zany kookiness about it, which I like to refer to as "wonderfully weird", that reminds me a bit of Roald Dahl. There are lots of goofy lines and situations that made me snicker, and even laugh out loud. This book is a salute to the many worlds that can be visited and created through imagination. There's also a strong pull to read great classic books out there, especially one of the many mentioned within this story. With that combination, how can one go wrong with this book?!
On top of all that, there's a bit of mystery added in, as far as who Dr. Libris is and what exactly he's trying to accomplish, even if I was hoping for more concerning him. There's new friendships made, and favorite characters from classics reinvented. Even better, there's a bit of diversity added in. (Walter and his sister are African American. This is only mentioned briefly through descriptions, but I appreciated the diversity, either way.)
There's a side story that I know some parents won't care for. I appreciated the way it was done, though. Billy's parents are separated. He's determined to get them back together. The ending of this particular part is left open, so each reader can decide how happy to make their future, or make it to match their own family situation. Really, each reader can decide how much of the story, as a whole, is "real".
I had fun reading this book, and I won't hesitate to hand it over to my children down the road. I highly recommended it, as long as you don't mind a bit of silly corniness.
*I was provided an ARC, in exchange for my honest opinion.
The Island of Dr. Libris