Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

5th September 2011

Transcript: This is the story of Peter Nimble. A small, blind, friendless orphan who also happens to be the greatest thief who ever lived. One day Peter steals a mysterious treasure that sets him on a journey beyond farthest seas, across endless deserts to a lost kingdom in need of a hero, in an adventure that can only be called … fantastic.

I normally am not a huge fan of book trailers, but this one is just about perfect and so descriptive. This book popped up on my radar after I saw a great review on The Book Smugglers blog, and I was intrigued. I don’t usually read a lot of middle grade, but my curiosity was piqued by this line in the book:

There is an old saying about how easy it is to ‘take candy from a baby.’ This saying is utterly false; anyone who has tried to take anything from a baby knows well what sort of crying, kicking, and general commotion will ensue. It is very easy, however, for babies to take things from us.

And Peter does steal, first to survive and then because he is under the control of a greedy crook, which of course, the humorous narrator (reminiscent of Rocky & Bullwinkle narrator Mr. Know-It-All) explains to us all the while. Once Peter embarks on his quest to find the Vanished Kingdom with Sir Tode, the cursed half-cat, half-horse, the true adventure begins, and I have to say, I was on board the whole way.

*Slight spoiler (but nothing you probably couldn’t guess)*

I knew, as soon as I saw the premise, that there would be a possibility Peter would get his sight back. I mean, this is a fairy tale, after all. However, I had a big problem with that. I love the idea that Peter is the best thief in the world and that he does it all sightless. BUT – you guys know I love my huge “but” – there is still a sacrifice that I won’t give away. Suffice it to say, in my mind, it still worked. Peter isn’t magically 100% “whole,” for lack of a better word.

*End Spoiler*

This is the type of book that instantly brings me back to the great stories of my youth. In the summertime, my mom and dad would read stories chapter by chapter to my brother, sister, and I. Peter Nimble would have fit right in with his fantastic eyes. Plus, the book is just as fun as an adult. The bad guys aren’t dealt with nicely, but the violence is tempered with lessons and irony. Plus, it’s just so darn fun. I loved Peter and Sir Tode. I really loved the narrator. It was funny and sweet and smart and tense. What more can you ask for in a book?

Read this: and suspend all disbelief for a few hours. Feel like a kid again. Or read it to a kid. Even better. ๐Ÿ˜‰

P.S. I got this book from the publisher through NetGalley. You can order this book from Indiebound. Thanks to the publisher Abrams and the imprint Amulet Books.

  • Oh, this sounds so fantastic and magical. This story seems to bring back my childhood days as well. Someone gifted me a huge book of Ukrainian folk tales, and some of those stories were pretty similar to this one.

    • It really is. I love these types of stories. And this one doesn’t feel like a repeat. It’s really great.

  • I will definitely have to check this out! Like you, I don’t read much middle grade fiction, but I got a great one from NetGalley: May B. It was so wonderful! You should definitely check it out!

    • I saw that one! I was wondering how it was. Thanks for letting me know.

  • Anonymous

    This one looks really good! I’ve had my little kick of middle grades novels over the last few months, and I’ve really enjoyed them. I almost wish I was teaching those grades again. I’ll have to pick up Peter Nimble!

    • While I don’t echo your sentiments to teach middle grade (NEVAHHHH!), I loved this book. I think you’d enjoy this one. It’s just enough dark but with great humor and action. Let me know what you think!

  • Meagan

    I can’t wait to read this. Looks so good. The trailer is very fantastical and I love the line about “taking candy from a baby”. Do you think it’s too old for my nine year olds?? I’ll have to read it first anyways…but I’m curious. Sounds like something they/I would enjoy. ; )

    • It IS so good. I don’t think it’s too old, but definitely read it. It was really fun, and I think yes, they would enjoy it.

  • Hm, babies stealing from grown ups… I sense an extended metaphor coming on. ๐Ÿ˜‰ This book does sound really fun.

    • Methinks you have a point there… And yeah – totally fun.

  • oh, this looks fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Pingback: Reading the old year out… | Picky Girl: I read. I teach. I blog. (pickily)()