Book Review: The Thief Lord

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke


He had felt as safe as a king in the center of his realm,

protected by lions and dragons and by the water all around them.

  ─ Cornelia Funke



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Book Information

Title:        The Thief Lord

Author:   Cornelia Funke

Publisher:     Scholastic Inc. 2003

ISBN 0-439-42089-X

Genre:      YA – Contemporary Fictional Fantasy

Ages 8-12

Suggested Grades 3 – 5         Guided Reading V

345 pages

Book Summary:

The magical city of Venice, Italy where narrow passages, canals, and crumbling buildings disguise a mysterious underworld. This is home to a mysterious charming Thief Lord, who provides shelter to a small band of street urchins.

The two newest additions Prosper and Bo, are runaways fearing discovery. The children are not alone in keeping secrets, every member of the group has one including the Thief Lord himself.

A fateful sighting starts a chain of events, revealing hidden secrets that change their lives forever. Leading the group on a fantastical adventure to a forgotten place holding secrets of its’ own.


Book Rating  3/5

The Thief Lord is an enjoyable story worth reading. Funke depicts Venice filled with wonder and magic through the eyes of a child. What child could resist a world in which there were no rules or adults to obey? The adult characters are more helpful resources used by the children. The children are orphans and runaways surviving by their own skills. While the children are homeless, they have managed to find safety, shelter, and a family together without any adults.

I gave The Thief Lord a rating of 3/5. It was a fun story that will keep child readers interested and engaged. The main characters are children that they can relate to, who see the world around them as being full of wonder and delight. The story shows the children resolving their problems in search of a family that loves them. While I enjoyed the story and find Cornelia Funke one of my favorite authors the story was somewhat lacking. There is no deep emotional connection to the plight of the homeless runaways, as they seem to be on a safe fun adventure.

Children readers may find this story enjoyable from the perspective of adventure, and lack of adult authority or rules.

Parents should be aware that the characters face various points of danger from antagonistic adult characters that seem to help the children sustain their lifestyle. The characters are placed in slightly scary situations without real physical danger that they defeat. The story contains no hidden moral message.

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