Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes - wonderful fantasy adventure (ages 9 - 13)

I find that so many kids I know, especially the tweens in 5th and 6th grade, either love realistic fiction or fantasy fiction. They either want to read about friendships and dilemmas they're experiencing themselves, or they want a complete escape from reality. One of my favorite summer reads was Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, by Jonathan Auxier - an enthralling fantasy that captivates readers. At Emerson School, we are thrilled to be having Jonathan come speak with our 4th and 5th graders this week.
Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes
by Jonathan Auxier
NY: Amulet Books / Abrams, 2011
ages 9 - 13
available at your local library, favorite bookstore, or Amazon
Abandoned as an infant, Peter Nimble has always known how to fend for himself. At an early age, Peter learns the careful art of thievery, necessary for his survival. Despite the fact that he is blind, he can sense his surroundings, pick locks and pocket treasures better than any other thief. Soon Peter is under the control of Mr. Seamus, who makes him steal for his supper (yes, do think of Dickens’ Fagin). But Peter’ wretched existence takes a complete turn when he steals a box containing three pairs of mysterious eyes. Putting a set into his own eyes, Peter is suddenly whisked away to a magical land with knights, evil rulers, and a mysterious cry for help.

Auxier has created a exciting debut, with elements of magic, adventure, companionship and suspense as Peter battles against all odds. Peter befriends Sir Tode, a bewitched knight who is half-cat, half-horse; the pair set out to solve a riddle that is a desperate call for help. Peter and Sir Tode quickly find themselves launched on an epic quest to rescue a vanished kingdom, traveling by sea, across desert and underground. I loved the world Auxier has created, Peter's determined character, Sir Tode's wit, and the final climax. But most of all, I loved Auxier's writing, the way he carefully leaves hints about Peter's quest and identity, but just enough so that I guessed what was happening just before it happened.

Young fantasy fans will love the suspense, the action and the climax in this enthralling book. One of the highlights of my fall has been talking with a student each week as she's been reading Peter Nimble. There is so much to think about within this book - she's been able to sink really deeply into the story, asking herself questions, wondering and predicting as she goes along. Auxier's writing style is complex and he uses complicated vocabulary, but he builds such vivid scenes with strong characters and clear action that children are pulled through. This would make a great read aloud (either at home or in class) for kids who love fantasy.

Want to know more? Head over to the website for Peter Nimble. Entice kids by showing them this fantastic trailer for Peter Nimble:

The review copy was kindly sent by Jonathan Auxier and Abrams Books. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2011 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books.


  1. Hi Mary Ann! I love this review--and your presentation tonight was wonderful! I want to read this book now.

  2. Thanks, Patty! It is a really fun book, especially if you like fantasy adventures. If you are in the Bay Area, come to our library on Thursday afternoon to meet Jonathan!