Author: Chris Grabenstein
Publisher: Yearling (Random House)
Genre: JUV Fiction/Fantasy
Age: JUV 10+
Audio Publisher: Listening Library
Audio Reader: Kirby Heybourne
Audio Length: 5 hours & 10 mins
This is the 3rd book by Chris Grabenstein that I have read so far. I'm planning on reading the final Mr. Lemoncello's Library book this month, it might be my next audiobook...we'll see. I have really enjoyed all of his stories so far. I think they are fun, imaginative, & you always learn something while reading them. I would highly recommend him as an author for a reader of any age.
In this standalone juvenile fiction book our main character is twelve year old William "Billy" Gillfoyle...what a name huh!? He is spending the summer at a cabin with his mother on Lake Katrine while his father stays in the city & works. Billy isn't exactly looking forward to a summer in the woods with no TV & because he dropped his iPhone no real entertainment or connection to the outside world. But in the strange cabin that his family has rented there is a library, maybe that can keep him entertained???
The cabin belongs to a Dr Xiang Libris. The Dr also owns the island in the middle of the lake, that is where the majority of our story takes place. The good Dr is conducting an experiment he calls The Theta Project. Using theta waves he is able to penetrate an imaginative mind & make stories come to life on his special island. The island is surrounded by a net that is filled with these waves & help to generate energy to bring the characters from the stories read into our world, kind of like a parallel universe.
Billy ends up making friends very quickly while exploring the lake. He meets his neighbors Walter & Alyssa Andrews, as well as his new arch nemesis named Nick Farkas. Billy & Walter end up exploring the island after Billy gets his first experience with The Theta Project through reading Hercules & Robin Hood. At first when he goes to the island to meet these characters he thinks he is imagining the entire thing. But no they are indeed real & not only interacting with him but also with each other. Imagine Robin Hood & Maid Marian dueling with the legendary Hercules after he has defeated some mythic monster!
The story continues from there with the addition of The Three Musketeers, Pollyanna, the terrifying sharkodile from Journey to the Center of the Earth, Tom Sawyer, Jack & the Beanstalk, & finally H.G Well's The Time Machine. Walter even figures out how to add his own character to the story like the Junior Wizard from his Magical Battical playing cards & worst of all the infamous Space Lizard from a popular comic book & video game.
The group runs into trouble with the Sheriff of Knottingham, the giant, & eventually the terrible Space Lizard with his ray gun of doom. While all of this is taking place on the island, back home Billy's parents are having some trouble & he hopes that they will stay together as a family. Can Billy, Walter, & the cast of storybook characters defeat the Space Lizard & save Billy's parents before it's too late?
The imagination in these books always blows my mind. It's the kind of thing that any kid would dream of coming to life on the page. I think this book or any of his others would make great movies or TV shows.
Getting to see these classic stories come to life was really cool & fun to read. No where else can you see the three musketeers & Hercules battling a giant sharkodile together!
In the end Walter & Billy need Nick's help to defeat the Space Lizard which is a nice ending considering Nick is your classic bully. I'm happy everyone could get along & get what they wanted.
All of this author's books are clean fun with humor & perfect for kids & adults of all ages.