“Now, for those of you who know anything about blind children, you are aware that they make the very best thieves.”
When I read books like Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier, I get disappointed. Disappointed because mediocre books are hyped so heavily, while truly timeless books like this one don’t even hit my radar unless I have to read it for something (CYBILS). Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes is a truly magical read about a blind orphan, Peter Nimble obvs, who is the greatest thief in the world, but may be destined for more than stealing. He may even be destined to be a hero.
Yo, the writing in Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes charmed my face off. Seriously face right on the floor it was charmed so hard. The third person narrator lends a timeless feel. It actually has this old school vibe minus the racism and freaky vaguely child abuse stuff. I thought Auxier wrote a perfect opening line and a wonderful closing line. Jonathan Auxier has certainly earned a place among my favorite word smiths. And that isn’t exactly something I run around handing out willy-nilly. Hell no, you have to work for it. And baby, did this book work for me!
‘There is an old saying about how easy it is to “take candy from a baby.” This saying is utterly false; anyone who has tried to take anything from a baby knows well what sort of crying, kicking, and general commotion will ensue. It is very easy, however, for babies to take things from us.”
The plot of Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes never meanders. It opens with a background sketch of Peter’s life, which up until this point really blows. You see he was found floating in a basket with his eyes pecked out. THEN he gets raised by a cat which is fine and good. BUT then a really bad guy, Mr. Seamus, adopts Peter and uses him to steal things. So one day he sends ole Peter to the market to steal from this dude who is a Haberdasher, whatever that is. And Peter ends up stealing three sets of magical, fantastic eyes. The first set transports Peter to an island where he meets Sir Tode, a knight transformed into a magical creature. There Peter is given a mission to save a land in peril and thus our plot grows wings and takes off.
‘Being wise, Professor Cake knew that any relationship not beginning with a punch or two would most assuredly fade over time: it is a well-known fact that brawling begets friendship. Already Peter and Sir Tode were planting seeds of mutual respect that might one day blossom into something far greater—a friendship to rival the stuff of legends.’
As for the characters I.LOVED.THEM. Peter is such an awesome kid. He’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. He’s blind, but rolls with it and doesn’t let his disability define him. He’s a bit too trusting. Yet, there is also this cleverness to Peter which I LOVE. I mean, he gets to mastermind a few plans and there’s this part where it feels like the cavalry has been sent in and I fist pumped a little as I am wont to do. AND I would be completely and utterly remiss if I didn’t mention Sir Tode in my talk on loving characters. He is comic relief but has a valiant heart and is a wonderful friend. I love that character trope. The bumbling side kick, I mean. AND AND AND Frederick. I won’t mention more on who/what Frederick is, just trust that when he pops up on the page you will fall madly in love forever and ever amen. AND don’t even get me started on the ravens. I loved them too.
Friends, Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes is definitely one of my favorite books of 2011. It may even have charmed me more than The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making. You better believe I will be pushing this wonderful novel on MANY of you, because it is awesome and not mediocre and totally deserves way more love and attention than it’s been given so far. OH and to the person who nominated this for CYBILS, thank you. I would never have met this fantastic book without you.
Disclosure: I got this from my local library, if you need info, you know where to go. THE LIBRARY, BRO.
This is a CYBILS nominee.