Peter Nimble, a ten-year-old blind orphan who has been schooled in thievery by his brutal master, Mr. Seamus, discovers (and steals) a box of magical eyes one afternoon while picking pockets in the town. When he tries on the first pair, he is instantly transported to an island at the top of the world where he meets their maker Professor Cake. The professor gives him a choice. He can return to his master and his life of crime, or he can embark on a quest to the Vanished Kingdom to rescue the people in need. Peter chooses the latter, and together with Sir Tode, a knight errant who has been turned into a combination horse/cat by a grumpy witch, sets out on an unforgettable adventure.
Peter is the best thief in the world and takes pride in his lockpicking abilities. Peter is cunning and clever, and an unlikely hero. He has no super powers, no magical abilities, and he’s blind. He’s also likeable, and kids will root for him to succeed in his quest.
Sir Tode, the fumbling knight/cat/horse, acts as Peter’s moral compass and teaches Peter important lessons about friendship, loyalty and courage. While Peter initially sees him as a pest and a hindrance, Sir Tode takes his oath seriously and steadfastly stands by him.
The novel is fast-paced and exciting, and the story contains all of the components that young readers love. There are magic, adventure and peril, and many surprising twists and turns. Good isn’t always good, and bad isn’t always bad, but Auxier leaves that up to the reader to discover. This is the kind of story that begs to be read aloud and that will find a place among beloved children’s classics.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2012. Volume 35 No. 1.
In this beguiling tale, a blind orphan named Peter has been schooled in a life of thievery by his brutal master, Mr. Seamus. When Peter steals a box of magical eyes, he is transported to a hidden island where he is asked to rescue a lost kingdom from its treacherous ruler. With the help of the fantastic eyes and some unlikely friends, Peter embarks on an adventure and discovers his true destiny.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.