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Funke, Cornelia.
New York : Scholastic, 2002.
IL 3-6, RL 6.8
ISBN 0439404371

(3 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

Twelve-year-old Prosper and five-year-old Boniface have run away from home.  It wasn't exactly their home.  Their mother had died and they were sent to live with Aunt Esther, a woman who had never had children of her own and didn't particularly like them.  Young Bo had the face of an angel so she decided to keep him but was going to send Prosper away.  So, the boys did the only thing they could think of -- they ran away together.  Now they are in Venice.  Their mother always spoke of how beautiful and magical the city was and the two boys thought they would feel closer to their mother in a city she loved so much.  Without family or friends, how could two young boys possibly survive?  By hooking up with a motley group of homeless kids headed by the Thief Lord, of course.  Although not much older than Prosper, the Thief Lord was able to find a home for his small group of kids and steal enough to keep the kids fed and clothed.  But who is this thief?  And why is he helping the band of children?

Booktalk #2

Their parents dead, Prosper and his little brother, Bo, run away from Germany to Venice, Italy, to avoid being separated.  There, in the crowded streets and canals, they meet Hornet, an orphan living in an abandoned theater.  Also living with her are Riccio, Mosca and the mysterious Scipio, who calls himself the “Thief Lord”.   Hidden behind a black mask, the Thief Lord robs houses in the night and brings his findings to the others.  He never stays long in the theater, only one night a week at the most.  He provides them with items they can sell for money to buy food.  When Scipio comes upon an envelope with instructions telling him to steal a wooden wing, he gets himself and his friends into a lot of trouble.  To make matters worse, a detective, hired by his aunt and uncle, is after Bo, and a greedy man named Barbarossa is on their trail in search of fortune.  Along the way, many secrets are kept, while some unexpected ones are found out.

Prepared by Debbie Jarrett for South Carolina Junior Book Award 2005

Booktalk #3

The Thief Lord had saved us from the streets, Bo and Me . . . or the canals. It was Venice after all. We had hidden from conductors in trains and slept in tiny spaces all huddled together, frozen and hungry. Then, the Thief Lord had found us and taken us in and added us to his menagerie.

It was Aunt Esther's fault. After our folks had died, she had wanted to take Bo to raise as her own. Just Bo. She wanted to separate us. So, I took Bo and fled. All the way to Venice.

Now, we lived in the Stella, a rundown old movie theatre that no one used any more. Along with Hornet, Riccio and Mosca. Scipio, the thief lord, never slept there himself. We'd only see him when there was a reason. He'd bring us the loot he'd stolen, but would never take any of us with him, even though he was just a kid like us. Not that I wanted to go. Or wanted Bo to learn to be a thief either. But, he provided for us. And, he'd let us take the items he lifted and exchange them for the money we used to eat and cloth ourselves. All in all, we were doing just fine. And, it was beginning to feel like we were part of a family.

Then, I ran into the detective. The one my aunt and uncle had hired to track down Bo and me. Then, we found out the truth about the Thief Lord.
Sam Marsh for The Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award 2005

SUBJECTS:     Runaways -- Fiction.
                        Robbers and outlaws -- Fiction.
                        Brothers -- Fiction.
                        Detectives -- Fiction.
                        Venice (Italy) -- Fiction.
                        Italy -- Fiction.


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