Oliver Nelson loves to read. Books are quite frequently his only escape from his life, where he’s learned from years of terrible mistakes and miserable misfortunes that things can always get worse. But books are also the reason for his darkest secret: he steals them. Not many, of course, and just from his local library when they are musty, ripped, or even incomplete, like his favorite tome, The Timekeeper’s Children. Still, Oliver lives in fear that someone will learn he’s a thief.
And indeed, this fear seems to be realized when the Pribbles summon him to their mansion. The Pribbles—extraordinarily rich inventors, philan-thropists, and collectors of fine children’s books. What could they possibly want with Oliver except to sell him out for his crimes?
But instead of revealing Oliver’s thieving tendencies, the Pribbles are determined to steal The Timekeeper’s Children--from Oliver’s mind. Using their latest invention, they send him into the world formed from his memories of the original, and instruct him to follow the story. Chapter by chapter, they intend to take it from his thoughts, thereby securing the last copy of this rarest of children’s books.
Now Oliver must partner with the timekeeper’s children from the title, Cora and Jack, to complete their quest and save their land from the grip of an evil sorcerer. They’ll encounter hungry eels, angry warriors, and even the Nasty Rodent Eater (nice to meet you) on the way—as well as a strange, shadowy figure who Oliver definitely does not remember from the original text.
But even if Cora and Jack succeed, can Oliver find a way to keep this story? Or will the Pribbles steal it from him forever?
The Thieving Collectors of Fine Children’s Books is a hilarious, fast-paced, and wonderfully weird story. This book is so fantastically quirky and witty, particularly the writing and plot, that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it; both Oliver’s home and the book’s world of Dulum come alive with all manner of peculiar people and places, including the aforementioned Nasty Rodent Eater, who is definitely my favorite character. Adam Perry takes familiar story elements and makes fun of them so successfully that he creates a story I’ve never read anything quite like before. For this reason, I think this book would particularly appeal to young writers. I highly recommend The Thieving Collectors of Fine Children’s Books to readers ages eleven and up who like stories which take a new spin on books, reading, and fantasy adventures.