The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid

Book review by Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 8+

Charming, twisty caper about kid pickpockets in France.

Parents say

age 14+

Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+

Based on 6 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Stands out for and .

Community Reviews

age 9+

They won't put it down!

This little book came to us because the author is part of band I have listened to for ages. The creative ideas that spawned the story are really rather fun, do a quick search to see the authors interviews on the publishers webpage. The book takes the time to engage children in a way that teaches writing and story development. But does all of this in a story line that also offers lessons in morality. We listened to the audio book and used the text as a sort of read along, this worked beautifully for my children as one is not as confident of a reader.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
age 18+

Inspires theft and mischief -- Parents Beware!

This book inspired my son to steal items from students at his school. (He had never done that before reading this book). Within days of finishing this book, my son began testing how he could pickpocket items from other kids at his school. Once he was caught and was asked "why" he did it, he said that he got the inspiration from "The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid" by Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis – The book is about child pickpockets. My son said that the book made stealing and child pickpocketing seem "cool," and that's what made him want to try doing it himself. Here's a small example excerpt from the book itself (just one of many): "This was not just thievery. They did not steal money solely from wealthy congregants of the racecourse–they practiced an art that was by turns beautiful and graceful, by turns crafty and mischievous. The flow of wallets, watches, jewelry, and coins was like a tumbling Rube Goldberg machine of fingers and hands and elbows and arms, always ending in the ever more loaded pockets of Charlie Fisher Jr." (Page 169) The main character in the book, Charlie Fisher Jr., is a taught how to be a thief. The entire book is about thievery, and pickpocketing is glorified. The writer portrays the lead character, the protagonist, as a child thief who is "cool." And, this book is marketed to ... kids. Portraying the lead character of a children's book as a thief, and then glorifying thievery by children in the book (when kids are reading the book) is irresponsible. This book is extremely inappropriate for children of any age. It promotes theft, mischief, deception and contains absolutely no conclusive positive message or "moral." Parents beware! This is a pointless book, unless, say, you're trying to raise a criminal.

Book Details

Our Editors Recommend

For kids who love mysteries and historical fiction

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

  • Cartoon picture of luggage and a map
    See all
  • Cartoon hands high fiving
    See all
  • Cartoon picture of a map and jug
    See all
  • Cartoon photo of a keep out sign
    Middle School
    See all

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate