Theodore Boone: The Abduction offers crime thriller for kids

January 31, 2012 at 4:41 pm Leave a comment

Theodore Boone: The Abduction by John Grisham; published by Dutton Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, New York; 2011.

Adults are familiar with John Grisham’s legal thriller genre.  Well, he expanded his market by creating “kid lawyer” (also the name of the first book in the series) Theodore “Theo” Boone.  This 8th grader is obsessed with the law.  Both parents are lawyers; in fact, other extended family members also practice law.  The courthouse is his second home.  In this installment, Theo’s friend April is missing and presumed dead.  With a little luck, covert tips from his uncle, and some ‘net skills, Theo finds out more about April and her family.  Of course, he helps solve the crime!  In the meantime, he stands before the judge in animal court, representing an immigrant classmate in the case of a parrot gone wild.

I can’t seem to summarize this book.  Perhaps it’s because it was a very light read for me, but I’m sure it will engross certain readers.  I read a few of Grisham’s early novels but was quickly bored by the boilerplate plots and resolutions.  Reading this book geared for kids (6th through 8th grade? really? not.) made me feel talked down to.  I don’t think he gets that writing for children does not mean writing simply.  Kids are far more sophisticated than most grown-ups realize.  So will middle school readers pick these up?  Maybe.  But discerning readers will get tired of the condescension and will read books really written to their age level.  I’d recommend this to 4th and 5th graders though as a way to introduce another genre.  Maybe it will turn reluctant readers into readers like Grisham’s books for older readers did for some adults I know.


Entry filed under: Children's Chapter Book, Mystery. Tags: , , , , , .

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