|Title: Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes Author: Jonathan Auxier|
Publisher: ABRAMS Pub. Date: 8/01/2011
Pages: 400 Format: eBook
|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 destiny|
When I first heard about Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes a few months ago, it was often compared to the Harry Potter series and Peter Pan. Truth be told, it was this comparison that sparked my interest. Now, a comparison such as this is a lot for a new book to live up to, but Peter Nimble does not disappoint. It, well, lives up fantastically!
But, to simply compare this book to Harry Potter or Peter Pan or any other well known work does not do it proper justice, because Peter Nimble wields and weaves its own unique literary magic. This is a book that other newbie books will someday strive to be compared to.
This fast paced story is full of magic, adventure, humor, and fantastical mischief.
So, just what makes Peter Nimble so fantastic? Well, first there’s Peter himself, the blind orphan thief. With Peter, Auxier creates an instantly likeable and relatable character. I was worried at first that Peter’s blindness would sway my sympathies for his character and have me rooting for him no matter what, but I quickly realized that, while his blindness plays a significant role in this story, it’s not what defines Peter. Peter’s creative and quick intelligence, his courage, and his compassion are what define him. Much like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson, Peter Nimble is a reluctant hero. Not because he does not want to do good and help others, but because he simply does not believe himself to have the makings of a hero. As the novel progresses, both readers and Peter himself discover just what Peter is made of.
I found Peter’s character to be quite refreshing, because although Peter Nimble is a fantasy novel full of magic, Peter is simply an ordinary human. Yes, Peter possesses extraordinary abilities, but these are not supernatural or magical in nature. He has no magic wand or superpowers. His keen and heightened senses and masterful thieving abilities are things that he had to develop and train on his own, over time. While he is aided by magic, in the end it is his nature and abilities that prove to be Peter’s most helpful assets. I also like that even though Peter proves to be smart, resourceful, and brave, he still acts his age; he’s a ten year old boy who is not above petty name calling or childish squabbling.
Then there’s Peter’s adventure, which I was easily and quickly swept into. As Peter and Sir Tode (his sidekick and friend who happens to be horse-cat-knight man) journey from our world to the world of the Vanished Kingdom, I found myself fascinated by the fantastical and whimsical creations (a dogfish! talking apes! an army of ravens! sea dragons!) I was introduced to. I felt like Gulliver on his travels or Alice exploring Wonderland. And there is a very Wonderland-ish quality to the Vanished Kingdom; as if it were Peter’s world, only as seen through a looking glass. This adventure is very action packed, with enough twists and turns that kept me excited and guessing.
But what I think I love best about this book is how well it speaks to its intended audience. There is a very witty, smart, and sharp bite to the voice and tone of this book that really reflects the witty, smart, and sharp nature of kids these days. I think a lot of MG books have the habit of underestimating kids’ ability to understand and comprehend sarcasm and irony, or they come across as condescending with their predictability and fluffy, hunky dory outcomes. But Peter Nimble seems to almost rely on the fact that kids are always sharper than grown ups want to give them credit for, and this notion is really celebrated throughout the book. And Peter Nimble, although fantastical and whimsical, is not all rainbows and lollipops.
But just because this is a MG book, doesn’t mean that it isn’t just as entertaining for older readers….believe me it is. I was pulled in from page one and this book had me captivated till the very end. And, as a former English major, who spent four years of my life examining literature from very analytical and theoretical perspectives, I couldn’t help but notice how layered this book is. Like many other MG and YA books (Harry Potter series, The Graveyard Book, Series of Unfortunate Events, Chronicles of Narnia, Alice in Wonderland), this book touches upon a lot of complex notions and topics: human nature, nature vs. nurture, dystopian societies, fate/destiny. I only wish this book was around when I was in college; it would have made an excellent paper topic. Although, unless you are reading this book for school, I suggest just enjoying it for the fantastic, adventure story that is.
Peter Nimble, the greatest thief who ever lived, proves to truly be the greatest in every sense of the word, and Jonathan Auxier proves to be a master storyteller, which of course I’ve read, is the most noble profession in this world.
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WANT TO WIN A COPY OF THIS FANTASTIC BOOK?! OF COURSE YOU DO!
The man, the myth, the legend, the author himself Mr. Jonathan Auxier has graciously offered an ARC copy of Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes to one of you lucky duck followers! What do we say to him bloggy blog? *this is where all you lovely people say in unison* "Thank you Mr. Auxier!" Thank you indeed. All you need to do is fill out the form below for a chance to win. Good luck my ducks!
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