Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo (Leven Thumps, Book 1) Book Poster Image

Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo (Leven Thumps, Book 1)



Occasionally fun but too long and poorly written.

What parents need to know


Some mild fantasy violence including monster attacks; a sentient tree is turned into a sentient toothpick.

Not applicable
Not applicable

Fast food restaurant mentioned.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

An adult is an abusive drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is some mild fantasy violence here: attacks by several monsters, one of which is lured off a cliff to its death. A scene where a sentient tree is ground down into a sentient toothpick might disturb some sensitive children.

What's the story?

Orphaned, mistreated Leven is contacted by a tiny creature named Clover, who informs him that he has a destiny to save two worlds: his own, and the world of dreams, called Foo. As he discovers he has the ability to see and alter the future, he meets a girl who can turn anything into ice. Together with Clover and a toothpick who was once the king of Foo, they race to destroy the gateway to Foo, pursued by the shadow minions of Sabine, who rules Foo and wants to extend his dominion over the real world. Includes map, annotated character list, and glossary.

Is it any good?


This book, which reads like it was written by a gifted 12-year-old, was published in its bloated, badly written, and typo-laden state by a publisher who perhaps once knew better. There was a time when editors were gimlet-eyed, erudite types who wielded a red pen like Excalibur, and had stables full of warrior monk copy editors who thought nothing of waterboarding a semi-colon until it admitted it was really a colon. Apparently those days are over, giving way to the era of the Corporate Publisher. "There's this book," they must have said. "from some little-known publisher in Utah that's selling up a storm. Buy it, and distribute it nationally."

"But," one hopes at least one voice in the room piped up, "it's bloated, badly written, and full of typos. At least let one of our editors work it over."

"Nah. Publish it as is. It's selling just fine."

And so the deed was done. After more than 200 pages of maundering around the neighborhood in Oklahoma, the story finally gets going, though the characters don't make it to the absurdly named Foo until nearly the end of the book. Along the way there are some flashes of excitement; no character development; a plot that, when it's not being completely derivative, doesn't make much sense; plenty of clichés; and numerous instances of the author amusing himself by throwing in weirdly inappropriate references that few kids will get, to everything from '70s pop music to Seinfeld. The movie version is due out in 2009.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the author's ideas about dreams. Are dreams essential to us or could we live without them? What purpose do they serve? What kinds of things do you dream about?

Book details

Author:Obert Skye
Illustrators:Ben Sowards, William Sokol
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:July 1, 2006
Number of pages:368
Publisher's recommended age(s):9

This review of Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo (Leven Thumps, Book 1) was written by

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Teen, 16 years old Written byzink340 July 10, 2010


What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 17 years old Written byMathematicalMatt January 22, 2010

Senior Project

So, I am a Senior in high school and for my final project in Young Adult Literature I delved completely into the entire Leven Thumps 5-part series. Now this wasn't something in which I picked the shallowest book as possible, Leven Thumps is incredibly deep. I spent weeks reading, analyzing, and pondering these books, and I don't care if it has typos (which it does) and I don't care if it is has influences (like Harry Potter), but when I first read Gateway (book 1) at thirteen I connected with the books almost deeper than I did with Harry Potter. Its full of humor, wit, and morals. There are lessons about patience, perspective, and possibilities. It illustrates the power (and necessity) of hope and trust. It shows examples of personal responsibility and selflessness. All in all, these are GREAT books. Adults along with children should read it and ponder it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byIloveBudster December 1, 2009
I read this book when i was 12 and i thought it was a wonderful book! Of course i love fantasy so it was great to me. I would recommend this book to anyone! Its worth reading
What other families should know
Great messages


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