Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer


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These days I find it easier and easier to sink into a fantasy novel written for juvenile readers. I don’t know if it’s the worlds I enjoy, or if it’s the break from “adult” problems and issues. After giving the matter considerable attention, I’ve decided that part of what draws me to fiction for 9-12 year olds is that sense of wonder and fun that is lacking in many of the adult books. They just take themselves too seriously. Or maybe I want to take myself less so.

Whichever is the case, I sat down with Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo and found myself whizzing right along in no time because the book offers tons of wonder and fun. Admittedly, I stumbled over the first chapter or two because they are a little dense and weird. But the story straightens itself right out and pounds to the finish line – which is really only the start of a series that currently includes three novels.

When I first saw the character’s name, Leven Thumps, I have to say that I wasn’t interested in reading the book at all. It was just too strange, and the back cover copy didn’t promise me enough to make me purchase the book. But I’m glad I read it.

Where else are you going to find a book chock full of action and adventure, and with candy that will – temporarily – rearrange your body parts? Particularly your eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. When Leven ate some of the candy that Clover, his sycophant – magical protector — gave him, he ended up with his nose between his toes.

The book takes place in Oklahoma, which is where I’m from. However, other than a few superficial details, it doesn’t really feel like Oklahoma. Granted, the book isn’t about Oklahoma, so that shouldn’t matter.

Leven has a hard life (it seems like all the kids heroes these days do) and isn’t loved by anyone (another common problem), but is destined to do great things because he’s an offing. Although it takes a while to get to the part where Leven gets his powers, waiting is worth it. His powers are cool and kids will love them. Heck, even I would like to be able to see into the future and control weather. However, I’d really like to have Winter’s power to turn everything to ice too.

Winter is a young girl whose own life has been horrible. She was raised by her mean mother. In reality, though, Winter is a nit, a citizen of Foo who came to our world to help Leven find the Gateway, find out what his real identity is, and keep safe from Sabine, the villain that has escaped from Foo and means to kill Leven.

One of the funniest bits in the book is what happens to Geth. He was the king of Foo and ended up getting trapped in a tree seed that’s planted on earth. He grows into a huge tree that can move independently, till the day he decides it’s time to find Leven and get to Foo. Then he causes problems, gets chopped into firewood, and eventually ends up as a toothpick throughout the rest of the book. I ended up chuckling out loud at his antics and my wife had to ask me what was so funny. It was too hard to explain. Even after I tried, I knew that the only way to truly get it was to read the book.

I have to admit that I was disappointed about reading 360 pages and not quite getting to journey around in Foo. Of course, there are two other books in the series that seem to offer exactly that.

Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo focuses on the journey Leven has to take in order to get to that magical world. The writing is fast-paced and action-packed. The characters are neat and imaginative. And there are parts of the story that are so far over the top I could feel my jaw drop. Like when Winter freezes the ocean so Leven can drive their “borrowed” car across it to escape pursuers. I was really amazed at how quickly I read the book.

With short, punchy sentences and a rapid pace, this book is a great one for reading aloud to kids that might seem daunted by the book’s length. The action and adventure will pull them right in. But they will probably pull you in too, and you may find yourself reading long after you’ve tucked the kids in.


One Response to “LEVEN THUMPS: THE GATEWAY TO FOO by Obert Skye”

  1. i lov ie this book wish i could bye i didn’t finish it but so far it’s great i read to the part when they were in the woods and they were trying to escape from a giant or something it’s a great book i love it!!♥

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