The Thief Lord Book Review

A few weeks ago, I took a load of books in to sell at Half-Price Books.  Surprisingly, I bought nothing for myself, but ended up with a great stack of books for Grace for only $12 and change.

Half-price book haul

I have my eye on a few of these books, but decided to start with Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord.  The city of Venice creates an enchanting backdrop for this delightful middle grade reader, which features a gang of orphaned misfit children.

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

Prosper and Bo are orphans on the run.  Their mother recently passed away and their aunt is only interested in adopting the adorable and angelic Bo, who is just five years old.  Fearing that he will never see his brother again, twelve year old Prosper takes Bo and they flee to the enchanting city of Venice.  The two boys are rescued from the streets by another group of children who live in an abandoned movie theater.  The group of misfit children is taken care of by their leader 13 year old Scippio.  Scippio calls himself the Thief Lord and claims to steal from the city’s richest residents.

Prosper and Bo’s aunt hires private investigator Victor Getz to find the runaways.  Unaware of the lengths the children would go to to protect each other, Victor reluctantly agrees to take on the case.

Once Victor is on the case, the children’s already unstable lives are turned upside down.  The children feel a strong sense of betrayal when the Thief Lord’s true identity is discovered.  With a payout too good to be true, the children agree to take on one last heist.  

The Thief Lord is a book that is filled with mystery and adventure!  It is reminiscent of a Peter Pan tale, except in this story the hero wants nothing more than to grow up.  In the end, it is two adults who find themselves the unlikely heroes to the Thief Lord and his band of misfit orphans.

More great middle reader books from Cornelia Funke:

Call Me Lizzy book review

It’s been far too long since I have written a book review!  I read Call Me Lizzy by Mary T. Wilkinson a few weeks ago while we were in Pittsburgh.  This is a quick middle reader book.  While this book may seem like a short, easy read, it delves deep into matters of bullying, faith, and family.

Call Me Lizzy book review


Before I begin, I should note that the author asked me to review this book.  However, all opinions expressed in this review are my own.  Lizzy is a ten year old girl living in Indianapolis in 1966.  At the beginning of the story, Lizzy lives with her mom and her dad.  Her young parents have a tumultuous relationship, fueled by immaturity and alcohol.  Lizzy spends a great deal of time with her paternal grandparents who love her fiercely, despite some of their own eccentricities.  Lizzy tags along with her grandparents to the American Legion, where they spend a great deal of their time playing bingo and socializing.  When her parents decide to divorce, a judge determines that Lizz would be best off living with her grandparents in Tennessee, whom she has never met.

When Lizzy arrives in Tennessee, her world is turned upside down.  She meets her grandparents and very large extended family, all of who are extremely religious.  Lizzy had never been to church in Indiana, and her grandparent’s church is unlike anything she has ever heard of.  The women and girls grow their hair long, wear dresses to their ankles, and heavy black stockings.  Her grandfather is the preacher of their little country church, where weeklong revivals are a yearly tradition.

As different as her new life is on her grandparent’s farm, Lizzy manages to fit in and adapt to her surroundings.  Lizzy enrolls in school and dons her new church’s uniform of long dresses and stockings.  She becomes fast friends with one of her cousins, who is in the same grade as Lizzy at school.  Together they endure the harassment doled out by a local bully.

As the story progresses, Lizzy’s faith is challenged time and again.  Through all of her heartaches, Lizzy comes to realize that with faith and family there is no obstacle too great to overcome.

While the story takes place over the course of just one year, I feel that it qualifies as a coming of age story.  Lizzy experiences so many changes in a short period time that force her to grow and adapt.  When we leave Lizzy at the end of the novel, there is a real sense that she is older and wiser.  Though this book can be enjoyed at any age, I would recommend it for middle readers in grades 5-8.

You may also enjoy:

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Moon Over Manifest