How am I defining a Willy Wonka-Like chapter book? You probably don’t need an explanation but here I go anyway:
- A wacky figure-head behind this adventure
- A competition between kids (though adults can be involved) OR
- A mystery that has to be solved through riddles and puzzles
Yep. That’s I came up with this list. What am I missing? Please help me out! Thank you!
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
12-year-old Emily’s move to San Francisco is softened by the fact that Garrison Griswold, publisher of an online sensation called Book Scavenger, lives there. This hunt combines books and puzzle solving into a competitive scavenger race. It’s all for fun and bragging rights, but then Emily finds an odd book with her new friend James that just might be a clue to how Griswold wound up in a coma. Is this the end of the Book Scavenger game?
Readers can solve the puzzles in the book OR go on a book scavenger of their own. Yes, it’s a real thing! [chapter book, ages 8 and up]
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
Luigi Lemoncello is the most famous and creative game maker in the world and now he’s building a very special library in Kyle Keeley’s hometown. Only twelve 12-year-old kids will be invited to spend the night at the library before it opens. They will play the game of their life: escaping from Mr. Lemoncello’s library. It’s not that easy. There are clues to find and solve in order to find a secret passageway out. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]
The Book That Proves Time Travel Happens by Henry Clark
This is my diversity pick from this list. I love how race comes into play in this story set both in the present and back in time to 1852 United States. Sent back in time by a mysterious gypsy trombone, Ambrose Brody and two friends must dodge slave-catchers and save ancestors from certain death in order to preserve their present-day selves. Their clues for survival seem to be coming through the I-Ching in Morse Code. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Liam looks like an adult, though he’s a just a thirteen-year-old kid. This comes in handy when he enters a contest and wins a trip to a theme park in China. Infinity Park has the most exciting ride in the universe, a rocket ship launched into space. Now, it’s a contest to see which “dad” can win the adult spot on the rocket; Liam the pretend dad or the other real dads? [chapter book, ages 8 and up]
The Candymakers by Wendy Mass
I’ve noticed from my kids and their friends how this book seems to appeal universally to both girls and boys. It reminds me the most of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but instead of kids winning a spot to tour the candy factory, they are invited instead to compete in a candy making competition. Their ideas are as wondrous as Willy Wonka’s! There’s also the same element of intrigue with a possible spy in their midst. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
I grew up reading and loving this book but I haven’t been able to get any of my three kids to read it. Because there are not one but two movies, they feel like they’ve read the book even though they have only seen one of the movies. The book is always better than the movie! Are you able to get your kids to read such a well-known story or am I the only one having difficulties? [chapter book, ages 8 and up]
Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein
My son and I are halfway through this book and I’m happy to report that it’s just as good as the first one! My son dropped the book he was currently reading for this one, a high compliment given that he’s been enjoying the Artemis Fowl series.
Our favorite characters are back, plus new ones are added including a few new ones. The games are now a national library event in a twelve part format, and our hometown heroes are battling out with more at stake than just winning. The games themselves require knowledge and riddle-solving but most of all, teamwork, to win. I hope there are more books to come in this series! [chapter book, ages 8 and up]
The Secrets of Winterhouse by Ben Guterson
Ms. YingLing Reads has a great review:
“Elizabeth is so relieved to get back to Winterhouse and be with her grandfather Norbridge again that she doesn’t think too much about why her somewhat evil aunt and uncle appear sad at her leaving. She’s very glad to find out that her grandfather has finally take care of all the legal details, and she will finally be living with him permanently. She is introduced to nearby Haventown, which has delightful shops, including a fantastic book store! Freddy, Leona, and the other people at Winterhouse are also glad to have her back, but there are some troublesome guests. She had a run in on the train with the Powter family, including nasty teenager Rodney, and is wary of Elana Vesper and her creepy grandmother. Something is up, and after a worker is attacked in the candy kitchen, Elizabeth and Freddy put their puzzle solving skills to work. There is a mysterious verse that shows up in different places around the hotel, put there by Riley Granger, a guest long ago, and Elizabeth expects it is somehow tied to Gracella, whom she doesn’t think is completely dead. While she’s glad to finally be home for Christmas, Elizabeth wants to keep her new home safe from dangerous family magic.” [middle grade, ages 9 and up]
The Emperor’s Riddle by Kat Zhang
I really liked this clue-solving adventure set in modern-day China. It’s a “Pirate
Treasure Map Meets Ancient Chinese Hidden Treasure” epic quest that Mia Chen and her older brother must solve in order to find their missing Aunt Ling. Time is running out as her Aunt’s nemesis, Ying, is on the trail too. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]
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