Friday, March 4, 2016

Family Review of Story Thieves, by James Riley

Story Thieves
A New York Times Bestseller
Written by   James Riley
Age Range   8-12
Lexile   750L
Paperback   416 pages
Genre   Fantasy
Recommended for   librarians, bibliophiles, and boys and girls ages 8-12.

As I read Story Thieves, I kept thinking, "The books that deserve to be on the New York Times Bestseller list just don't end up there. It keeps getting filled up with junior novelizations of major movies." Much to my delight, I discovered it had just made it onto the list (number 8 in Children's Middle Grade Paperback for two consecutive weeks in February).
I smiled as I read Story Thieves. The literary allusions and playful phrasing left me smiling again and again. Was the book a clever metaphor for life? I didn't care. When was the last time a book made me smile like that?
 In a recent issue of Boys' Life, my kids pointed out a book advertisement for Story Thieves, by James Riley. My oldest boy (12) loves fantasy, and really wanted to read it. My next boy (11) was more interested in a new sci-fi book. My daughter (10) was skeptical. Since the book had appeared in a boys' magazine, wasn't it a book for boys?
I downloaded the e-book, and read the first chapter aloud. The three oldest dove right into their copies (perks of having several kindles in a family: one purchase, six copies) and finished within two days, asking promptly for the sequel. I had to keep interrupting their excited discussions with, "No spoilers! I haven't finished it yet!"
My 8 year old son usually reads nonfiction. He reads well, but often prefers projects to personal reading. He liked this book better than most, enough to be willing to read an assigned chapter a day, for a few days.

Childrens' Reviews

Boy, age 12
I loved it. It was like a book within a book.
My favorite character is Kiel Gnomenfoot. He wears a black shirt, black pants, and a black cloak, and has two magic knife-wands.

Boy, age 11
Story Thieves was interesting. My favorite character was Kiel Gnomenfoot, because he's really cool. He can use magic.
I was a little surprised who Nobody was. The book was a little weird, though. How can Nobody take a form? How can something fictional be real?

Girl, age 10
I liked it. My favorite characters were Bethany and Kiel. I also like Nobody. He saved Owen. Sometimes I wonder if, really, we're all in a book.

Boy, age 8
It's very interesting. Owen's friend jumping inside of books at a certain page to find where they are going to be if they jump into that book. I wonder how Bethany's father escaped a book. Because her mother married that book character, their child, Bethany, is half-fictional and can jump into any book. Do they jump into books you've read before? Read the book to find out.

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