Charlie, aka the Grenadine Kid, is the son of an American diplomat in France in 1961. By chance–or is it?– he witnesses a pick pocket, Amir, similar in age to himself being accosted by police, Charlie comes to his aid and by doing so strikes up a friendship. Charlie really has no friends and is drawn to the very different life that Amir lives. Long story short, Charlie becomes a trusted member of the Whiz Mob, a gang of child pickpockets who are all graduates of the same mysterious teacher who has pickpocket gangs working for him the world over. The excitement of something so different from his own life has Charlie taking greater and greater risks. The story line develops in unexpected ways, and moves along at a very brisk pace with lots of action building along the way. The book is listed as suitable for 8 to 12- year-olds, but this is one that will have holding power for serious young readers of any age.
–Brad Smith, Paulina Springs Books, Sisters, OR
When the son of an American diplomat in Marseille falls in with an international organization of pickpockets, adventure ensues! With zany art by Carson Ellis, this book is by the team who did the Wildwood trilogy. I’d recommend for ages 9+ reading alone, but it would make a fun read-aloud for the whole family for kids as young as kindergarten. The pickpocket slang and 1960s atmosphere might require some explanation for little listeners, but grown-ups will have an absolute blast introducing kids to Charlie’s and Amir’s worlds.
–Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, WA
This chapter book is featured in the Holiday Catalog in independent bookstores around the region. Paulina Springs Books and Queen Anne Book Company have special sales for titles in the catalog; check with your closest independent bookstore for great recommendations and deals, too.