The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
Reviewed by Margo Dill, www.margodill.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Middle-grade fantasy novel, but not fantasy with faeries or dragons or witchcraft–good-old fashioned storybook fantasy
12-year-old boy and 5-year-old boy as main characters
Rating: Delightful book in an unusual setting (for children’s books) with loveable characters
Purchase The Thief Lord
Short, short summary: Prosper and Bo are two orphans, who go to Venice to escape their Aunt Esther. They join up with a gang of misfit children and teens, who live in an old movie theatre and survive with help from The Thief Lord. The Thief Lord is actually a 13-year-old boy named Scipio, who has plenty of his own secrets. The plot really gets going when two events occur around the same time: a loveable detective finds Prosper and Bo, and a wealthy client hires the gang to steal a broken wooden wing, which is the key to a magical merry-go-round.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. There are quite a few characters and twists and turns in this novel. One way for students to keep track of the characters and plot is for them to make a story map. A story map helps students work on finding main events and sequencing skills. For more information on story maps and how to use them in your classroom, check out this link: Story Mapping.
2. The Thief Lord is set in Venice. Many of your students or your child might not understand the waterways in Venice and how many people are traveling by boat and not car. This fact is crucial in understanding many parts of this book. Find a movie at the library, ask students to research Venice on the Internet, check out nonfiction books with photos of Venice, or go to this website: Venetia.
3. Many of the events that happen in this book could happen in real life, yet this book is a fantasy. After students are finished reading the book, ask them to make two columns on a piece of paper. On the top of one column, they should write “Realistic.” On the top of the second column, they should write “Fantasy.” Tell students to write events that could happen in real life on the realistic side and the fantastical events on the fantasy side. Ask students to think about the following statement and how it applies to this book: “If any part of a statement is false, then the whole statement is false.”
If you are homeschooling your children, another good website to check out is Guilt-Free Homeschooling. If you have used this book with your children or your students, please leave a comment here and tell us about your experiences!
If you have a book for me to read and review, please leave a comment here or email me at email@example.com.
photo by word virus at www.flickr.com