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I ve been looking forward to Peter Nimble since the moment I came across Jonathan Auxier s website, The Scop The site is simple, the sketches are fun and that might be the best about me section I ve ever seen So to hear Jonathan was publishing his first middle grade this fall, literally made me giddy Then I found that this particular middle grade novel is set in a quazi Victorian age, starring a blind orphan thief.Here s what I need books that I can look a kid in the eye and say, Trust me I ve been looking forward to Peter Nimble since the moment I came across Jonathan Auxier s website, The Scop The site is simple, the sketches are fun and that might be the best about me section I ve ever seen So to hear Jonathan was publishing his first middle grade this fall, literally made me giddy Then I found that this particular middle grade novel is set in a quazi Victorian age, starring a blind orphan thief.Here s what I need books that I can look a kid in the eye and say, Trust me, you re going to love this So that while they re developing their reading and thinking strategies, they ll fall in love with literature and see the relevancy for these skills I m looking for books that create the circulation effect I pass off a book and by the time it s returned two months later, I ve seen it on 15 different desks I m quite confident that Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes will be one of those books First and foremost, Peter Nimble has an absolutely mesmerizing flow to it It s got all the fun of disenfranchised Dickens mixed with Phantom Tollbooth absurdity Jonathan Auxier seamlessly blends these two very diverse attributes, strapping his readers to his back as he takes them along for a breakneck ride through complete obscurity One minute you re meeting his traveling companion, an enchanted horse cat knight the next minute you re giggling over a reference to 18th century burgling proverb And that s what makes this novel so much fun.Auxier immerses you in this wonderfully substantial tale while relentlessly sprinkling in bits of humor at every turn To really buy into fantasy, there needs to be in a believable world In a lot of the high fantasy for middle graders that I ve read, this tends to get a bit descriptive Not that it s a bad thing, most of the time it s completely essential to the story But for inexperienced readers who haven t built the stamina to stick it out, such description can slow the story down to abandonment Auxier does much of his world building through an astute sense for humor Thieving terminology and old sayings build Peter s culture This enables the author to spend less time creating the world andtime pushing Peter through it And the reader can pick the rest up along the way.By omitting the overly descriptive elements of fantasy, we re left with a story that moves at a truly exceptional pace Take my knees for example I had an hour to kill before heading home for dinner I made my way over to the beach with Peter Nimble in tow Before I knew it three hours had passed, my legs were cooked, and I was late for family dinner The chapter structure and pace just work sensationally Some end in total cliffhangers, others are satisfying bookends all without ever feeling predictable or formulaic Sometimes a section was wrapped up nicely when I assumed it would stretch out, while other times I thought I knew how a chapter would end only to be left with a dropped jaw and a yearning to find out where we re going next And all of this happens from the moment we set foot into Peter s tale Right from the introduction it s clear that we re in the hands of a storyteller It doesn t feel like the characters or the narrator know something that you don t The information we learn in the beginning later becomes pertinent but it never comes off overly mysterious There s nothing wrong with employing those strategies at a story s onset but doing so risks losing that audience that isn t quite ready to pick out the questions they ll need to keep in their heads for a few hundred pages Another major component of Peter Nimble s flow is the manner in which we meet new characters and explore new settings The story s landscapes constantly shift without inundating the reader with detail We grow accustomed to Peter s new surroundings with him Seeing as how Peter is blind, both he and the reader are exposed to the setting by moving through it Characters too, flow in and out without coming off hollow or hurried But the essential thread that ties this novel together is Jonathan Auxier s outstanding narration I m always telling my students, You can t talk to your reader unless you really mean it And when they ask me what that means, I tell them, I don t know But go read Adam Gidwitz or Lemony Snicket Bad narration is intolerable and insulting to the reader, which makes discovering quality narrators that muchsatiating Auxier guides us through Peter s story without ever tipping his hand or pandering to his readers, unless he s doing so intentionally, in which case, it s pretty damn funny He s constantly dropping bits of humor that range from explicit to embedded to ludicrously sarcastic And we haven t even touched the most impressive part Our main character is blind The disability drives the story without ever becoming preachy or asking the reader for sympathy It s refreshing to have a main character whose handicap is the source of his success without him having to learn some character trait by coming to terms with the disability In fact, frequently, the disability becomes the butt of many a pun Good We certainly want to teach our kids to treat everybody, able or handicapped, with respect It s nice to see Peter isn t discluded from good natured humor at his expense, like so often is the case when disabilities appear in children s literature.Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes is sure to be hit with middle grade boys and girls alike At times it s utterly absurd others, rich and poignant, but it always remains sensationally obscure And if nothing else, it s that current of obscurity running throughout the novel that will charge its readers and keep them chuckling until the last page It s my job to get emerging readers the skills they need to be proficient with text But what good is a skill set if you can t find a relevancy in it I say I have just as much a responsibility to help my readers find both Many times, it requires some salesmanship And, a salesman is only as good as his product Books like Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes makes engendering students to take ownership of their reading easy It s the caliber of story that is simply Fantastic From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Gardener, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes is the utterly beguiling tale of a ten year old blind orphan who has been schooled in a life of thievery One fateful afternoon, he steals a box from a mysterious traveling haberdasher a box that contains three pairs of magical eyes When he tries the first pair, he is instantly transported to a hidden island where he is presented with a special quest to travel to the dangerous Vanished Kingdom and rescue a people in need Along with his loyal sidekick a knight who has been turned into an unfortunate combination of horse and cat and the magic eyes, he embarks on an unforgettable, swashbuckling adventure to discover his true destinyBe sure to read the companion book, Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard Dear Peter Nimble,I m sorry, but you and me, that s just not going to work.After an 86 pages long relationship I must admit you bore me I know you are meant to entertain my inner child but either that child is on vacation or you re not doing a very good job.Also I think you re overdoing it Seriously, is there anything you can t do You are blind, yet you learned to smell and listen to the world as if it was right in front of you You even learned how to stop your own heart beat so the dogs won Dear Peter Nimble,I m sorry, but you and me, that s just not going to work.After an 86 pages long relationship I must admit you bore me I know you are meant to entertain my inner child but either that child is on vacation or you re not doing a very good job.Also I think you re overdoing it Seriously, is there anything you can t do You are blind, yet you learned to smell and listen to the world as if it was right in front of you You even learned how to stop your own heart beat so the dogs won t catch you You can basically do anything and thus frustrate my not so talented self.You do look gorgeous though, I have to give you that Especially the way you present yourself whenever a new chapter starts.Until later or maybe never.Yours sincerely,A frustrated reader Now, for those of you who know anything about blind children, you are aware that they make the very best thieves pg 3When I read books like Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier, I get disappointed Disappointed because mediocre books are hyped so heavily, while truly timeless books like this one don t even hit my radar unless I have to read it for something CYBILS Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes is a truly magical read about a blind orphan, Peter Nimble obvs, who is t Now, for those of you who know anything about blind children, you are aware that they make the very best thieves pg 3When I read books like Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier, I get disappointed Disappointed because mediocre books are hyped so heavily, while truly timeless books like this one don t even hit my radar unless I have to read it for something CYBILS Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes is a truly magical read about a blind orphan, Peter Nimble obvs, who is the greatest thief in the world, but may be destined forthan stealing He may even be destined to be a hero.Read the rest of my review here thank u, next Excellent and imaginative Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure.9 24 18 Kindle version on sale today for 2.99. Jonathan Auxier s debut book, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, released August 1st by Amulet Books, is an imaginative attempt within the Young Adult YA fiction genre But what appears to be the beginning of an action and adventure filled series starring a persevering and original cast of characters is in reality an imaginative but half hearted tale foiled by an amateur voice and copycat style.By his own admission in the book s acknowledgments, Auxier is a thief like his protagonist Peter N Jonathan Auxier s debut book, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, released August 1st by Amulet Books, is an imaginative attempt within the Young Adult YA fiction genre But what appears to be the beginning of an action and adventure filled series starring a persevering and original cast of characters is in reality an imaginative but half hearted tale foiled by an amateur voice and copycat style.By his own admission in the book s acknowledgments, Auxier is a thief like his protagonist Peter Nimble Snatching inspiration from countless other worlds, characters, and books, his crime is readily apparent Young, blind, orphaned Peter is of the Dickensian trope and his behavior follows accordingly He is born of dubious circumstances and ends up in the care of a corrupt guardian He is forced to commit crime but is possessed with deep moral fiber He is but an innocent, virtuous child graced with an adventuresome spirit who is, in spite of all handicaps, clever and highly self sufficient Peter s friends, sidekicks, and saviors supplement and assist his adventures in a traditional fairy tale manner, appearing in times of duress and possessed with powers sufficient for the impending challenge There is Professor Cake, an eerie human caricature of C.S Lewis s Aslan in omniscience and puissance Sir Tode, an enchanted knight serving as Peter s loyal sidekick and a bumbling cross between the Chesire Cat and Don Quixote King Incarnadine, Peter s nemesis and villainous uncle of Princess Pam, wearing clockwork armor that s borrowed from a villain of Marvel comic Hellboy fame and the monstrous ape army, serving as Night Guard in Incarnadine s palace, reminiscent of the Wicked Witches flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz Peter s entrance into the magical realm is similarly burgled from other tales Like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, the titular Fantastic Eyes transport Peter to the aptly named Troublesome Lake, kicking off our protagonist s fantastic adventure The Eyes themselves are a unique narrative device and it is quite pleasurable to discover, along with Peter, their magical powers Young readers will find some of theabsurd characters, like Sir Tode the cat horse man and Simon the beakless raven, amusing and fresh.All this theft on part of Auxier makes for an imaginative fairy tale and adventure quest mashup However, the delivery and pace of the fiction lacks warmth There was no joy or wonder in Auxier s words While the plot moves along at a nice pace for young readers and is suitable for the action and adventure genre, the content lacks depth and the narration is erratic The beginning of the tale is lush with description of a magical world simply look at some of the place names Just Deserts, Troublesome Lake, Kettle Rock, et al while Peter s adventures are simply accounted for The narrator explains and jokes with the reader in some scenes Vitamin C turns into Vitamin Sea, a nutrient in lemons to prevent scurvy from afflicting pirates and sailors then hurries the action along in the next by stating simple facts along the lines of, this happened, then that, and then Peter felt distraught and hopeless I paged through Peter s adventure impatiently, past whale sized dogfish and raids with banished thieves and perfect palace lives that seem all too perfect, waiting for a delivery that was anything but fantastic or nimble hee hee.By the third and final section, the book had shifted dramatically Gone are the witty remarks and the conspiratorial laughter of the narrator explaining unnecessarily complex adult notions Instead, grotesque descriptions of battle produce an unjustifiably violent affect Child readers can handle exposure to cruelty and violence, but the line is tenuous just look at best selling authors like William Golding and Suzanne Collins, who wrote books in which children commit violence Peter Nimble is witty and compelling in a first read because of the narrator s cloying voice, reminiscent of my favorite childhood author Roald Dahl, and this voice vanishes irrevocably into the thick of battle Further, Auxier fails to produce either narrative justification or consistency for descriptions of violence in the culminating escape and battle In one scene, where the raven army is pitted against Night Guard apes for control of the palace, the carnage of the nearly overpowered ravens turns the waters of a flooded hallway deep red Later, the machinery of King Incarnadine s armor destroys Peter Nimble s hand to the point that it must be amputated later and replaced with a fishing hook Captain Hook, anyone These descriptions, together with other chillingly honest moments, give a tale of good toppling evil a revolting twist.All these weaknesses can be traced back to a single error Auxier, like many well intentioned YA authors, writes for his audience and not for his story He creates a truly fantastic world full of characters infused with attributes loved in other acclaimed fairy tales only to lose his imaginative spark as the fiction s dubious hero toils on By the final section, when our well meaning hero has the chance to prove his worth as the greatest thief who ever lived and likely most honorable , the drawn out action and predictable moral summations excised all former attention and exhilaration No reader turns the page to be told the action It s the author s job to use language and unique skill to show and share it Unlike poor Peter Nimble, the reader will not blindly mistake Auxier s dim and dark HazelPort with the visionary depth and clarity for which imaginary realms like Narnia, Wonderland, Oz, and Neverland, not to mention contemporary creations like Hogwarts and Panem, are acclaimed.Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes should be a celebration of a child s world triumphing over the dim, dull and illogical rule of adults Instead, it pays homage to Lord of the Flies Wide eyed adventure no , this tale suits better the Brothers Grimm The storyline is just ridiculous crazy Things happen so fast and so out of the blue, it s almost delightful At first the adult in me was putting up a fight and going Say whaa Pretty soon, I shelved that irritating grown up sixth sense and just immersed myself in the fantasy that is Peter Nimble The creatures he meets are truly weird, his companions are funny, and his enemies are deliciously nasty For me it was like reading The Phantom Tollbooth meets any Roald Dahl book meets Peter Pan m The storyline is just ridiculous crazy Things happen so fast and so out of the blue, it s almost delightful At first the adult in me was putting up a fight and going Say whaa Pretty soon, I shelved that irritating grown up sixth sense and just immersed myself in the fantasy that is Peter Nimble The creatures he meets are truly weird, his companions are funny, and his enemies are deliciously nasty For me it was like reading The Phantom Tollbooth meets any Roald Dahl book meets Peter Pan meets something I ve never read before It s wacky and fun.Here s where it gets interesting though underneath all the wackiness, I found myself thinking that this was rather advanced for a book that s meant to be for 8 12 year olds I wondered if, as an 8 year old, I would ve been able to take the concept of someone s eyes being pecked out by ravens for the good of a kingdom or someone s hand being chopped off and replaced by a hook Then I remembered watching Peter Pan at age 4 and loving it totally not judging Captain Hook at all for his hand or ridiculous hair The best part of the book was its unpredictability It held such a fantastic twist that I didn t even see it coming and was genuinely excited when I read it There were some rather large words scattered here and there in the book Admittedly I had to look up two of them myself, which made me think What a GREAT learning book I learned all my big words vocabulary best when they were disguised in the most fun books possible.That s what Peter Nimble is a really fun book Adults, leave your sense of reason behind when you pick it up Kids, get ready for a wild ride across land, oceans, and sewers Initially I really enjoyed this book the writing is clever and amusing, but I felt the story had several parts that were just jarring, considering that this is a kids book Peter Nimble is found as an infant, floating on the ocean in a basket His eyes have been pecked out by a raven.Okay, what Things get no better for Peter after he s rescued by sailors he s left at the nearest port town, where officials name him, then abandon him again on the streets to fend for himself As a baby No Initially I really enjoyed this book the writing is clever and amusing, but I felt the story had several parts that were just jarring, considering that this is a kids book Peter Nimble is found as an infant, floating on the ocean in a basket His eyes have been pecked out by a raven.Okay, what Things get no better for Peter after he s rescued by sailors he s left at the nearest port town, where officials name him, then abandon him again on the streets to fend for himself As a baby Now, I know that this actually has happened historically, and that there are many children even today who are left to fend for themselves, but oh my gosh that was harsh Peter s life skips a few years, as he is trained by the horrible Mr Seamus to be a master thief He is deprived of love, food, kindness, on and on and on But all of this changes when he meets the mysterious Mr Pound and steals from him three pairs of fantastic eyes.The rest of the book follows Peter on his adventures A lot of it is fascinating, and the author has one heck of a great imagination But it s almost overwhelming, all of the characters and dramas and twists and turns I found myself losing interest as the book progressed, even though I thought it was well written.Maybe it s just not my thing, but this book definitely will not be the end of my search for a new Harry Potter type series I m not sure if I would read a sequel if the author publishes one What a grand adventure funny, scary, prophetic and imaginative Peter Nimble has been blind all his life Because he is blind, his other senses provide information the rest of us don t even notice the smells of stones and of wealth, the sound of beating hearts and of friendship These abilities lead him to becoming an extraordinary thief perhaps the best thief in all the world He can pick any lock At the end of one particularly difficult lock picking challenge he discovers a box containing What a grand adventure funny, scary, prophetic and imaginative Peter Nimble has been blind all his life Because he is blind, his other senses provide information the rest of us don t even notice the smells of stones and of wealth, the sound of beating hearts and of friendship These abilities lead him to becoming an extraordinary thief perhaps the best thief in all the world He can pick any lock At the end of one particularly difficult lock picking challenge he discovers a box containing six amazing eggs The yolks of these eggs turn out to be three sets of fantastic eyes that launch Peter on a journey From gold, to onyx to emerald, Peter moves from world to world and shape to shape on a quest to help the writer of the note that may have come from the Vanished Kingdom Kings aplenty, princes few, The ravens scattered and seas withdrew Only a stranger may bring relief, But darkness will reign, unless he s Each step of the way is hard but Peter knows he has a friend, Sir Tode He has the fantastic eyes which will be all that he needs if he uses them only when the time is right And he knows the person he is now is the reason this quest is part of his destiny It is his true nature that will lead him through each problem he encounters