From the creators of the New York Times bestselling Wildwood Chronicles comes an original, humorous, and fast-paced middle grade novel about a band of child pickpockets--imagine The Invention of Hugo Cabret meets Oliver Twist.
It is an ordinary Tuesday morning in April when bored, lonely Charlie Fisher witnesses something incredible. Right before his eyes, in a busy square in Marseille, a group of pickpockets pulls off an amazing robbery. As the young bandits appear to melt into the crowd, Charlie realizes with a start that he himself was one of their marks.
Yet Charlie is less alarmed than intrigued. This is the most thrilling thing that's happened to him since he came to France with his father, an American diplomat. So instead of reporting the thieves, Charlie defends one of their cannons, Amir, to the police, under one condition: he teach Charlie the tricks of the trade.
What starts off as a lesson on pinches, kicks, and chumps soon turns into an invitation for Charlie to join the secret world of the whiz mob, an international band of child thieves who trained at the mysterious School of Seven Bells. The whiz mob are independent and incredibly skilled and make their own way in the world--they are everything Charlie yearns to be. But what at first seemed like a (relatively) harmless new pastime draws him into a dangerous adventure with global stakes greater than he could have ever imagined.--Booklist (starred review)
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About the Author
Colin Meloy is the writer of the bestselling Wildwood Chronicles and the singer and songwriter for the band the Decemberists. The Golden Thread: A Song for Pete Seeger is his first picture book. He once joined Pete Seeger onstage, singing American folk standards at the Newport Folk Festival in 2011, and even now, he can barely believe it actually happened, it was so cool. He lives just outside Portland, Oregon, with his family.
Colin Meloy once wrote Ray Bradbury a letter, informing him that he "considered himself an author too." He was ten. Since then, Colin has gone on to be the singer and songwriter for the band the Decemberists, where he channels all of his weird ideas into weird songs. With the Wildwood Chronicles, he is now channeling those ideas into novels.
As a kid, Carson Ellis loved exploring the woods, drawing, and nursing wounded animals back to health. As an adult, little has changed except she is now the acclaimed illustrator of several books for children, including Lemony Snicket's The Composer Is Dead, Dillweed's Revenge by Florence Parry Heide, and The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.
Colin and Carson live with their sons, Hank and Milo, in Oregon.
"Meloy mirrors his characters' capers, distracting you while he moves in for the real con. It's a bona fide twist that may make you feel robbed yourself. In this case, that's a good thing."--New York Times Book Review
"Equal doses of humor and action."--School Library Journal
"Meloy and Ellis (the Wildwood Chronicles) blend shades of Dickens, Rowling, and Robin Hood. Themes of friendship and making amends are skillfully woven throughout. And Meloy's attention to detail vividly evoke the period setting."--Publishers Weekly
"Ellis' charming illustrations adeptly capture the playful tone and decidedly period setting."--Kirkus Reviews