[Princess Consuela here. I saw that Sword Mistress was doing a Peter Nimble post, and I have abused my admin privileges to add my own comments. Mwahahahaha. <– My Joey-and-Phoebe Plan Laugh. Seriously, guys, I miss Friends. When is Courtney Cox going to get Matt LeBlanc on Cougar Town?]
This past May, I had the pleasure of going to BEA and picked up quite a few fabulous books. As I was visiting the ABRAMS booth, I noticed a lone book on a bottom shelf and picked it up. The cover looked right up my alley and after reading the back and seeing that there was swashbuckling AND thievery, I knew I would love it. [How could this go wrong? Books about thieves are the best.] After some mild pleading, the lovely lady at the booth said I could take the book and I got to walk out of BEA with the coveted Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier (ABRAMS imprint Amulet, 2011) [Not to brag, but when I got my copy at ALA, Jonathan was there for his inaugural book signing. We chatted. I came away with a bag shaped like an eyeball. ALA swag WIN.] <—- I am still jealous about this! Think he will let me mail him my copy to sign?
Peter Nimble’s life sucks. As a child, his eyes are pecked out by ravens as he floats abandoned in the sea. [Cheery.] (see my notes below on kids being bloodthirsty violent creatures) Upon reaching land, he raises himself, until he is taken in by who he thinks is a nice old man… only to learn he is a mean, nasty, lazy asshole who trains Peter in the art of thievery and forces him to steal for him every night. [Yeah, he’s no good. You’re going to want to punch him in the face.] Peter’s days are spent sleeping in a cell guarded by a vicious dog. Really, things couldn’t get any worse for Peter. Enter the mysterious traveling haberdasher (one of my FAVORITE words btw) [‘Haberdasher’ is an underutilized gem. Well played, Jonathan Auxier] (Is this the part where we high five and yell “HABIDASHERS UNITE!?) with untold treasure that Peter cannot help but steal. Being blind, it takes Peter a minute to figure out what this treasure is, but with the help of a zebra, he realizes that he has stolen three pairs of eyes. [In eggs. Don’t forget that part.] (Creepy) As he puts in the first pair (side note. He can’t see and he puts something random into his eye sockets. That is a lot of trust in a zebra), he is instantly transported to a mysterious island… and what is a mysterious island without a professor to give you a quest to find a Vanished Kingdom and a former knight (now hilarious combination of horse and cat) to help along the way. [No quest is complete without a faithful sidekick. And when your sidekick is a man/horse/cat, he is small enough to fit inside your burgle sack for easy transport. Travel-sized for your convenience. That professor thought of everything.] (haha. burgle sack.)
I loved Peter Nimble. [Well, how could you not? It’s super fun.] From the imaginative world and characters [and a multitude of literary allusions! Peter Pan, anyone? Alice in Wonderland? You had me at hello], to the fact that there are puns galore! (Just Deserts, you know I mean you!). I also appreciated that, a la Dahl, Auxier appreciates that children are blood thirsty creatures and want to read about eyes getting pecked out and gorillas ripping things apart and armies of ravens. [Don’t forget the brainwashed mob of obedient subjects who turn on their own. Or the double-crossing, back-stabbing thieves. Or the sea serpents.] (and the giant talking fish!) Through all of the insanity (because it is insanity), you can’t wait to see what will happen next and completely believe that this magical world exists alongside our own. [Indeed. It’s so good that you will not want to leave the stationary bike when it kicks you off because you’re so engrossed in the story. Anything that can keep me amused at the gym for that length of time is literary gold. Who knew that the bike would kick you off if you stay for too long??] (It also needs to be said that I demand more Peter Nimble. I want to hear about the rest of his adventures! Make it happen! I know they are in your head, Mr. Auxier… don’t be selfish.)
[A very merry unbirthday to YOU, Peter Nimble.] (Since we dropped the ball and posted after your official book birthday.)