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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Great Books for Boys and Girls

I finished reading The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke. I liked this book much better than Funke's book, Inkheart. Five-year-old Bo and twelve-year-old Prosper are two brothers on the run from their Aunt and Uncle, the Hartliebs, who only want to adopt little Bo and leave Prosper to a life of foster homes. The brothers are unwilling to be separated, and go to Venice, a magical city their mother loved.

The boys soon encounter The Thief Lord, a thirteen-year-old named Scipio, who helps them and other runaways, even though he cannot help himself. The Hartliebs commission Victor Getz, a detective, to locate Bo. Add to this story a young girl named Hornet, who loves to read; Riccio and Mosca, young boys who are anxious to prove themselves able to The Thief Lord; stealing from the rich to survive; an interesting assignment; a couple of kind hearted adults; and a dishonest antiques dealer named Barbarossa...and you've got an interesting Oliver Twist/Robin Hood type storyline.

Cornelia Funke is a German author, and I'm wondering whether something is lost in the translation. Especially since Cornelia Funke is an award winning author. While I enjoyed reading The Thief Lord and liked the characters, I found the plot and pacing disappointing at times. So I'm wondering, is it the translation, the book, or my reading tastes? Hmmm.

I put The Thief Lord on my list, since I think children will enjoy the adventures in this book and imagining what it would be like to answer to no one but themselves. Children ages 9-12 will probably appreciate the book the most.


CookieBooky said...

I agree - I preferred The Thief Lord to Inkheart as well. I thought Inkheart was good but very dark (too dark in places). I agree, too, that something was probably lost in translation.

Robin Brande said...

Can I tell you about another great boy book? I meant to tell you last time you posted about this, but somehow drifted off.

It's Here There Be Dragons by James Owen. It's already been picked up for the movies by the director who made Batman Begins. It's about the secret atlas to all the imaginary lands from books--Avalon, etc.--and the people entrusted with keeping it safe from the bad guys. There's swashbuckling, dragons, time travel, some of our favorite old book characters come to life--a really cool series that I think boys will (and do) love. I'm reading the advanced copy of the sequel right now--it's got Peter Pan!

Just my two cents!