Reviews for Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes


Booklist Reviews 2011 November #1
Ten-year-old orphan Peter Nimble is a gifted thief--and also blind. After five years thieving for nasty beggarmonger Mr. Seamus, he longs to escape. Opportunity arrives when Peter pilfers a mysterious box containing three pairs of eyes. Inserting the first pair, he is magically transported to Professor Cake's island home, where Peter's given a choice: return to his former life or find a vanished kingdom and save those in trouble. Though doubtful, Peter, along with knight Sir Tode (cursed to be part cat, part horse), embarks upon a quest fraught with dangers, unexpected enemies, and allies, where they'll be tested and tried before ultimately realizing Peter's destiny. Evoking Dickens and Dahl, this fantasy-adventure has a classic-storytelling flavor, from archaic prose--lightened with droll touches--to diversely drawn human and animal characters, including underground-rebel Princess Peg, tyrant King Incarnadine, and brave raven Simon. Despite some predictability and occasionally glib narrator commentary, readers will enjoy the unique Peter, whose adventures, from facing and overcoming hardships to discovering the true meaning of heroism, make for an absorbing debut. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Ravens plucked out Peter Nimble's eyes before the infant was rescued at sea. Blind and orphaned, the boy grew into a miserable life of thievery. When he steals a set of magical eyes, however, Peter is set on a hopeful course to heroism and home. Daring adventures, vivid characters, and a particularly droll narrator bring this inventive story to life.

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Kirkus Reviews 2011 April #2

What begins Dickensian turns Tolkien-esque in this quest replete with magic and mystery.

Peter Nimble is an orphan. Blinded by ravens in infancy and made to steal for the town's beggar-monger (think Fagin), Peter becomes an expert thief and pickpocket. His wretched existence changes when he steals a box containing eggs that are actually three pairs of magical eyes. When Peter drops the first pair into his eye-sockets, he's instantly swept away. Thus begins a perilous adventure wrought from a riddle found in a bottle. After much travail, Peter learns that the mysterious eyes are not always dependable. He seeks and eventually finds a vanished kingdom, where he faces a tyrannical king. The king has brainwashed all the adults and enslaved all of their children, who are controlled by a horde of bloodthirsty apes. The action never flags, even though the suspense does. With one onslaught after another, the violence turns from suggested to overt, with weaponry and bloody battles. Solving the riddle and embracing his destiny are just the beginning of Peter's problems. In the end it's Peter's true talents, not magic, that prove most reliable.

Auxier has a juggler's dexterity with prose that makes this fantastical tale quicken the senses, even if it does bog down from time to time. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Kirkus Reviews 2011 July #1

What begins Dickensian turns Tolkien-esque in this quest replete with magic and mystery.

Peter Nimble is an orphan. Blinded by ravens in infancy and made to steal for the town's beggar-monger (think Fagin), Peter becomes an expert thief and pickpocket. His wretched existence changes when he steals a box containing eggs that are actually three pairs of magical eyes. When Peter drops the first pair into his eye-sockets, he's instantly swept away. Thus begins a perilous adventure wrought from a riddle found in a bottle. After much travail, Peter learns that the mysterious eyes are not always dependable. He seeks and eventually finds a vanished kingdom, where he faces a tyrannical king. The king has brainwashed all the adults and enslaved all of their children, who are controlled by a horde of bloodthirsty apes. The action never flags, even though the suspense does. With one onslaught after another, the violence turns from suggested to overt, with weaponry and bloody battles. Solving the riddle and embracing his destiny are just the beginning of Peter's problems. In the end it's Peter's true talents, not magic, that prove most reliable.

Auxier has a juggler's dexterity with prose that makes this fantastical tale quicken the senses, even if it does bog down from time to time. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 July #1

Debut author Auxier spins a lively, magical adventure led by 10-year-old Peter Nimble, a blind orphan and "the greatest thief who ever lived." Peter has always had to fend for himself, and after five grueling years of working for a heartless beggarmonger and perfecting his burgling skills, he uncovers a box filled with three sets of stone eyes: gold, onyx, and emerald. The first set transports him to a hidden island where the psychic Professor Cake awaits. The professor provides Peter with a companion (Sir Tode, a half-cat, half-horse knight) and a mission: to solve a riddle and save the Vanished Kingdom from an evil king. Peter and Sir Tode set sail unarmed, aside from their kind natures, faith that the eyes will guide them, and Peter's skill at picking locks ("He considered every lock to be a personal challenge. By definition, locks are designed to tell you what you can't do"). At times the omniscient narrator can feel overly precious, but the fast-paced, episodic story, accompanied by Auxier's occasional pen-and-ink drawings, is inventive, unpredictable, and--like its hero--nimble. Ages 10-up. (Aug.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 October

Gr 5-8--Peter Nimble is a 10-year-old orphan, blinded at birth by ravens and trained as a highly skilled thief. Escaping a harsh master, he meets the mysterious Professor Cake, who tells him a prophecy in rhyme about a Vanished Kingdom much in need of rescuing. Peter undertakes the quest, accompanied by Sir Tode, a knight cursed with the body of a horse and cat. Professor Cake gives Peter a box with three sets of magical eyes to use when "the moment is right." Once on the island, Peter and Sir Tode battle a desert of thieves, a palace of monster apes, and a pit of sea serpents to free the city from a tyrannical king. By so doing, they discover their true mettle and decide to call the Vanished Kingdom home. Children who persevere through the complex, bizarre introduction will enjoy this quirky adventure. In the first chapters, it is difficult to see how an island without a surrounding ocean, dehydrated thieves battling talking ravens, and children enslaved by apes fit into one story, but Auxier manages to tie these fantastical elements into a cogent, believable story. Using the lessons he learned as a thief, Peter remains true to his own internal logic throughout his quest. This constancy helps to smooth over places where the pace drags. As Peter and his motley cohorts enter the final epic battle, children who want adventure with a splash of fantasy and mystery will be glad they spent time in Peter's world.--Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT

[Page 130]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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