With two attorneys for parents, thirteen-year-old Theodore Boone knows more about the law than most lawyers do.Read more...
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With two attorneys for parents, thirteen-year-old Theodore Boone knows more about the law than most lawyers do. But when a high profile murder trial comes to his small town and Theo gets pulled into it, its up to this amateur attorney to save the day.
- ISBN-13: 9780525423843
- ISBN-10: 0525423842
- Publisher: Penguin Young Readers
- Publish Date: May 2010
- Page Count: 272
- Reading Level: Ages 8-12
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2010-05-31
- Reviewer: Staff
Grisham, a bestseller-list fixture with his legal thrillers, makes his children's book debut with a series opener that lacks thrills. The only child of two attorneys, Theo Boone is an endearing oddball, an eighth-grader who still thinks girls have cooties, but who knows every lawyer, bailiff, and judge in town. There's an underdeveloped subplot about a best friend whose parents are divorcing, but Theo's contacts with peers mainly consist of him playing lawyer--advising one boy to have his parents file for bankruptcy to avoid foreclosure, reassuring another about his brother's drug arrest, and in the main thread, producing an eyewitness to a murder for which the prosecuting attorney, heretofore, had only circumstantial evidence. He's less a real kid than an adult's projection of what an ideal kid might be like--determined to be the "most talented linguist" in his Spanish class and appreciative of the scruffy charms of the local college team's baseball stadium. The book is smoothly written, and there's a mild tutorial on the criminal justice system ("Theo knew that in 65 percent of murder cases the defendant does not testify..."). What there isn't is any excitement. Ages 8–12. (May)
A small-town kid takes on a big-time case
Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, John Grisham's first book for middle-grade readers—and book one in a planned series—will no doubt have wide appeal. Precocious tween bookworms will admire Theodore Boone, a 13-year-old wannabe lawyer, and reluctant readers will keep flipping the pages due to an action-packed plot.
The only child of two busy attorneys, Theo’s passion in life is the law. He hangs out at the courthouse in his small city, and he knows every lawyer, judge, court clerk and cop in town. In a closet-sized office, he gives legal advice to classmates when their parents are filing for divorce or their pets are charged with violating the leash law. When a big murder case goes to trial, Theo organizes a field trip for his government class to observe the first day’s proceedings.
Though Theo longs to be either a “famous trial lawyer” or a “great judge,” he knows he’s in over his head when he finds out about a mysterious eyewitness to the murder. No one else is aware of the witness’ existence, and it’s up to Theo to convince him to come forward and tell the judge what he knows. Otherwise, a guilty murderer will walk free.
Young readers will be intrigued by the showdown of the trial, and as Grisham explains the role of a jury, a district attorney and a bailiff, they’ll learn about some of the players in our justice system. But don’t expect a neat ending: Grisham leaves readers hanging before the lawyers make their closing arguments at the murder trial, setting the stage for Theo’s next adventure.