The Island of Dr. Libris

by Chris Grabenstein

Hardcover, 2015

Call number



Random House Books for Young Readers (2015), 256 pages


A twelve-year-old boy, worried that his parents may divorce, discovers that an island in the middle of the lake where he is spending the summer is the testing grounds of the mysterious Dr. Libris, who may have invented a way to make the characters in books come alive.

User reviews

LibraryThing member VioletBramble
Billy and his mom are spending the summer at Dr. Libris' lakeside cabin. There is a nearby island. When Billy reads books from Dr Libris' library the stories come to life on the island. Billy and his new friend, Walter, row out to the island and become involved in the story. Their participation
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requires them to take books from the library to the island and read them aloud to make the stories happen and characters from various books interact with each other.
I couldn't help but compare this book to Grabenstein's other books; Escape From Mr Lemoncello's Library and Mr Lemoncello's Library Olympics. Both of those books are excellent; full of book knowledge, trivia , and love. In comparison this one was disappointing. The bookish parts of the story were not as interesting but will hopefully inspire young readers to look up all the books used to tell the story. Also, Mr Lemoncello was great as a genius book lover who wanted to share that book love with children. Dr Libris wants to use Billy's ability to bring stories to life in order to become rich.
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LibraryThing member bookswoman
Billy is spending the summer with his mother at a colleague's cabin. Dr. Libris has an amazing library and the best books are under lock and key. In order to gain access to them, Billy has to solve some puzzles to find the key. Once he does that he finds he has some amazing powers, to make the
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characters come to life out on the island near their cabin.

Some of the greatest books are mentioned in the book and a host of the characters show up on the island. Hercules, Tom Sawyer, Robin Hood, and the Three Musketeers are all on the island, creating chaos and adventures for Billy and his new friend, Walter.

Chris Grabenstein is wonderful writer and it doesn't matter if he is writing for children, young adults or adults, he captures the attention of the reader and doesn't let go until the story is completed. I have to wonder what world he will create with the next book
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LibraryThing member avanders
I liked the end a lot, but the bulk of the book was unoriginal and lazy - relying on already written characters and literary tropes to move along a slow plot.
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
Fun read (although not quite as good as Mr. Lemoncello's Library). The premise was interesting and fun but it felt a little bit unresolved to me.
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
Fun read (although not quite as good as Mr. Lemoncello's Library). The premise was interesting and fun but it felt a little bit unresolved to me.
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
Fun read (although not quite as good as Mr. Lemoncello's Library). The premise was interesting and fun but it felt a little bit unresolved to me.
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
Fun read (although not quite as good as Mr. Lemoncello's Library). The premise was interesting and fun but it felt a little bit unresolved to me.
LibraryThing member AnaKurland
Not as good as Mr. Limoncello's library, but still a good story. Love how it features classic books!
LibraryThing member thornton37814
Author Chris Grabenstein earns brownie points from librarians and teachers everywhere for creating a setting where books come to life. Billy is spending the summer with his mom at a cabin on an island owned by Dr. Libris. His mom is working on her dissertation in mathematics. Dr. Libris is a
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psychologist. He owns the island which Billy quickly discovers is a place where books come to life. He and his friend Walter encounter Hercules, Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham, Pollyanna, and more as they explore the island. They even find a use for the neighborhood bully in their adventures. This one is pure whimsy, but it was a great book to listen to while traveling to and from an airport.
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LibraryThing member mcelhra

Book Review: The Island of Dr. Libris

The Island of Dr. LibrisThe Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 24, 2015
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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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?

Billy’s mom rents Dr. Libris’s cabin for the summer. There is no TV, no computer and his iPhone is broken. What will he do all summer? Dr. Libris has an extensive library and with nothing else to do, Billy reads the books in the library.

Strange things start happening in the library as he reads and he is drawn to the island in the middle of the lake that is near the cabin. Once he gets to the island to explore REALLY strange things happen. The characters in the books he’s been reading are alive on the island! He and his new friend Walter, who’s family lives next door to the cabin, have many suspense filled adventures on the island with the characters. But how did the characters appear on the island? And why are they there? This is the core mystery of the book.

One thing I have to point out that I loved about this book is the fact that Walter is African American. It’s only mentioned when his little sister is described as having “chocolate colored skin, bright brown eyes and hair knotted into three braids.” It’s important to characters of color in books that are not about race.

I think this book will have a ripple effect on young readers. After reading about the characters in Robin Hood, Tom Sawyer, etc. they might be interested in reading the books that those characters are in. The author provides a reading list of books that inspired him while writing this book that would come in handy for young readers.

The Island of Dr. Libris is a fun little middle-grade mystery that both boys and girls will enjoy.
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LibraryThing member deslivres5
Present-day adventure book with a sci-fi/fantasy bent, but rooted in classic children's literature. The author's note at the end is a fantastic resource for those searching for classics to read.
LibraryThing member elenchus
An interesting if derivative idea (from Grabenstein's original Library novel), but feels built by protocol somehow. W was motivated to finish as much as to learn how the story went on, as from any immersion in the story as we read it. I'd recommend Grabenstein's Escape from Mr Lemoncello's Library,
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but not this one, and at this point I'm not eager to pick up another from Grabenstein.
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LibraryThing member AlbaArango
When Billy arrives at the cabin his mom rented from the mysterious Dr. Libris for the summer, he’s disappointed. No TV, no video games, no technology of any kind except for the creepy video cameras in every room. Then, he discovers the library, and more importantly, Dr. Libris private bookcase.
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As Billy begins reading the books, he starts hearing strange noises from the island in the middle of the lake. Upon investigating the island, he discovers that all the characters from the various books he’s read have come to life and are interacting with each other and with him on the island! Hercules, Robin Hood, Tom Sawyer, and even Pollyanna all come together for a wild adventure.

What I liked: So creative! I love the various characters interacting with each other. Some of the scenes are hilarious. This is such an inventive way to intersect multiple popular fiction characters. Billy is also very relatable, unsure of himself and unsure of his parents upcoming divorce.

What I didn’t like: The ending is very rushed, like the author had to hurry up and finish the story. Also, Dr. Libris makes a brief appearance at the end, and is such a terrible person that I wish he had been left out. The ending is okay, just a little disappointing.

Still, a rather enjoyable read.

4 out of 5 stars
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LibraryThing member MrNattania72
This was cute story that might get many students of today to get in touch with the classics of yester-year. It was delightful story of a modern boy plagued with the stories of the classics.
LibraryThing member CarrieWuj
Same author as Lemoncello's Library, so I had high hopes for all the bookish fun in Dr. Libris, but was a bit disappointed. It is a little too babyish -- perfect for 2nd and 3rd graders with a good grasp of literature, but was hoping it would be a better fit for my 5th and 7th grader. Billy is
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stuck vacationing in Dr. Libris' cabin so his mom can finish her dissertation (good role model!)with few distractions. Billy's Dad has stayed in the city because their marriage is on the rocks. With no screen activity, Billy must turn to Dr. Libris' library for entertainment. This is part of the sinister Libris' master plan. Once Billy delves into the books, he has some brain wave activity that brings the stories to life on the mysterious island in the middle of the lake. This becomes a literary mash-up of the 3 Muskateers, Jack and the Beanstalk, Robin Hood, Pollyanna, Tom Sawyer and others. Billy must keep himself safe, get the characters sorted out, thwart a bully, save his new friend and his sister, and resurrect his parents' marriage. Tall order, but all possible with imagination.
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LibraryThing member BoundTogetherForGood
This is a juvenile fiction title that one hopes will lead children to seek out some classic literature titles once they've read it.
LibraryThing member ssperson
My 12-year-old and I listened to this on a recent trip to a baseball tournament. When I was going down the list of audiobooks I had to listen to, he said, "Oh, we should listen to that. Chris Grabenstein is a really good author."

I really enjoyed this book. Billy and Walter were great characters,
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the kinds of friends you'd expect on summer vacation adventure. (NB: My son informed me that, "Just because there are kids your age, parents shouldn't expect you to automatically become friends." Which I knew, but the reminder was useful.)

I also liked how the characters from classic literature were brought to life. I laughed every time at the Sheriff of Nottingham's "Curses and foul language!"

I was a little nervous at the end with the shenanigans with regard to Billy's parents, but I was relieved when he realized that he had to let them figure things out for themselves. Love potions = bad; free will = good.

The narrator was fantastic, and nailed all of the voices, making each unique, appropriate, and recognizable.
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