Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo (Leven Thumps, Book 1)
What parents need to know
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?