My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Orphaned twelve-year-old Prosper and 5-year-old Bo run away from their aunt and head to Venice based on the stories of their mother. They run away because their aunt and uncle want to keep Bo and send Prosper away and instead of being split up they take off to make it on their own. Victor Getz is hired in Venice by the aunt/uncle to find Bo, and they suppose Prosper, though they don’t want him back.
Prosper and Bo are doing quite well though, they have been taken under the wing of the Thief Lord, a young teen named Scipio, who provides a hideout for his band of followers and helps them with clothes and food and money from the spoils of his thieving.There is something odd about Scipio though, he never stays with the group at the abandoned theater and is often goes unseen for days on end.
The introduction of a magic carousel and the eventual transformation of Scipio into an adult was unforeseen, and only marginally out of sync with the rest of the narrative.
I can see why middle schoolers like this book, it has a bit of a Peter Pan feel to it. The POV shifts from the kids to the detective and always portrays the kids as smarter.
Themes that come to mind that I might talk about if I were to teach this book: Loneliness, friendship, family, looking towards the future