A.R Level: 4.8
Recommended for: Grades 4-6
The Thief Lord was a really enjoyable read. (Actually, “Awesome!” was my original adjective describing it, and maybe a better one) It didn’t hurt that the story is set inVenice, making everything that much more magical. It also made me want to go back toVenice. For a month. Or maybe a year.
Prosper and Bo are orphans (Why are all the best protagonists in children’s books missing at least one parent? See The Willoughbys for more on this theme.) They’ve run away toVenice to escape the clutches of their perhaps not-so-evil aunt. As it happens, their aunt only wants Bo, not Prosper, because she wants a cute child (also a theme known to child welfare workers everywhere) and Prosper, at 12, is too old to be “cute.” She has plans to send Prosper away to boarding school.
Once in Venice Prosper and Bo meet up with a group of street children who take them in and introduce them to the Thief Lord. The Thief Lord provides his brood with items to sell for food money and a place to stay – an abandoned movie theatre – and everything seems to be going just swimmingly until (1) the semi-evil aunt returns, and (2) through a series of events you’ll have to read about yourself, the children suddenly need to find a new place to stay.
Although I didn’t expect to find one, I was truly disappointed to learn that there was no sequel, no other opportunity to hang out with these kids. The Thief Lord is one of those books that makes you feel like you actually know these people before you’re done. Thankfully, my friend S., who knows volumes about such things, tells me that Funke’s Igrain the Great is better than Inkheart. So, if I can’t hang out any more with Prosper, Bo and crew, I’m looking forward at least to spending lots of time in the future with Ms. Funke’s other creations.
Afterthought: I should have a separate category for books that were vastly better in book form than as movies. Ella Enchanted, though a good movie, would fall into this category. As for The Thief Lord, I guess I’d better see the movie before making my judgment, but considering that one of the reasons I read this book is because my friend R. said that Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart was a vastly better book than movie, I suspect that The Thief Lord may fit into this category as well. If you’ve read the book and seen the movie, let me know what you think.