Children’s Book of the Week: Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes
Oh my god oh my god oh my god! This book has made me into such a teenager, gushing with emotion and completely inarticulate in wonder. And not, mind you, because it’s a teenybopper fantasy of any kind, but more because I’m such an unabashed book geek that reading a truly excellent story makes me weak in the knees. And so I say: Oh! My! God! Peter Nimble!
I started to read this book myself, and then literally had to pace the room trying to decide whether to keep reading it myself (because it was so good, I just had to keep reading) or to read it to the children as a bedtime book (because it was so good! but we were also in the middle of another – much more boring – bedtime book). In the end, I decided to do both. For the first time ever, I read ahead while simultaneously reading it as a bedtime chapter book. And it was so good that it was nothing if not an extreme pleasure to be starting over at the beginning before I even finished it the first time. There were actions earlier in the book that foreshadowed the events I was reading about on my own (and I had, of course, missed the foreshadowing the first time around). It certainly helped to make my reading-aloud more entertaining for the kids (at least I think it did).
Have I mentioned how good this book is? When I started reading it to the kids, I read the first two chapters and announced it was bedtime, only to be met with simultaneous howls of protest from all four kids (Ramona is either enjoying literary treasures well above grade level, or figured she had better join in to the sibling-led tantrum).
Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes is the story of the world’s greatest thief, a ten-year-old orphan boy named Peter Nimble, who steals a box containing three pairs of magical eyes, which lead him on an incredible adventure. He meets many amazing people and creatures, and the craziest and most lovable enchanted knight (the initial description of whom garnered shrieks and gasps and laughter from the kids – really).
Also my favorite birds, ravens, play a very large part in Peter Nimble, so it has that going for it also.
And I’ll tell you that, when we got to the denouement, Henry and Eli sat up in their beds and cheered, loudly, for what seemed like a really long time. They cheered like their team had scored the winning goal (um, in our world here “the hero in a book having a wonderfully surprising happy thing happen to him” is having our team score the winning goal).
Oh dear. And now I fear I’ve talked it up too much, and you all will be disappointed. Though I really don’t see how that’s possible. But maybe forget I said anything. Approach it as I did, not knowing much. Or, oooh! I know! Please go to Jonathan Auxier’s website, and play around with his author photo. That should convince you of his greatness.