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Multicultural Literature
The Thief Lord
Home
Yangsook Choi: Biography
Yangsook Choi: Bibliography
Yangsook Choi: Book Analysis
The Thief Lord
This Same Sky
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge
The Eleventh Hour: Curious Mystery
Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry
M.C. Higgins, the Great
Goin' Someplace Special
Locomotion
Too Many Tamales
Pablo Remembers
My Name is Maria Isabel
Pablo's Tree
The Great Ball Game
Buffalo Woman
Morning Girl
The Mud Pony: A Traditional Skidi Pawnee Tale
Jingle Dancer
The Name Jar
Tree of Cranes
Good Luck Gold: And Other Poems
The Magic Paintbrush
Habibi
Ella Enchanted
Silent Lotus
Real Heroes

Funke, Cornelia.  2002.  The thief lord.  New York: Scholastic Inc.
     ISBN: 0-439-40437-1.
 

 

Set in Venice, Italy, The Thief Lord is a fantasy about two orphaned boys running away from their cruel aunt and uncle.  Their deceased mother had been quite taken with Venice, painting an image for the boys of "winged lions, a golden cathedral and a fairyland full of angels and dragons perched on top of buildings" (Funke 2002).  Bo and Prosper find their way from Hamburg, Germany to Venice and into the middle of a group of street children lead by a dashing 13 year old called 'Thief Lord'.  These children form a sort of family unit, watching out for one another, working together to provide shelter, food, clothing, and protection.

Their world begins to unravel as they meet the mysterious Conte and are charged with locating a broken wooden wing.  The magical Venetian setting with its canals, secret islands, and ancient buildings lends itself to a wonderful fantasy romp which captures the reader and keeps them spellbound to the satisfying and humorous conclusion.

The characters are realistically portrayed with both good and bad traits.  Realistic descriptions of the children and their daily lives allow the reader to picture this group of rag-tag urchins living by their wits.  The reader understands that the children resort to thievery for survival and some of the characters are bothered by this more than others. 

Ms. Funke's black line drawings interspersed throughout the book let the reader picture the true Venice.  The author incorporates many Italian words and a glossary at the end of the book lending authenticity to the story and "building awareness of foreign languages" (Tomlinson 1996).  The reader can almost hear, taste and smell the everyday Venetian life and one can't help but relate to the children's plight and wish for a satisfying conclusion for every character!  This book was the 2003 recipient of the Mildred L. Batchelder Award.

Tomlinson, C.  1996.  Books that invite talk, wonder, and play.  Available from
     http://online.twu.edu/bin/common/content.  Accessed 08 June 04.