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The Gateway (Leven Thumps) Paperback – July 1, 2006

129 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the Leven Thumps Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This imaginative and entertaining young adult fantasy novel successfully depicts an unusual boy's coming of age. Oklahoma orphan teen Leven Thumps has a hidden and powerful talent: he can glimpse, and then manipulate, the future. He is also the only person on the planet who can protect the gateway to Foo, a mythical realm whose existence ensures that human beings in this reality retain the ability to dream, hope and imagine. Sabine, the wicked ruler of Foo, wants to extend his tyranny by ruling this world as well-but if that happens, no one on Earth would ever be able to dream again. As Lev hurries to find the gateway between the two worlds before Sabine does, he encounters several friends to help him: Winter, a bright 13-year-old girl who can instantly freeze things and people just by wishing it; Clover, an adorable, foot-high furry creature from Foo who has been assigned as Lev's companion (and, apparently, as comic relief); and Geth, the wise but displaced king of Foo, who alone knows the full secret of the gateway. Obert Skye's imagined world of Foo contains many whimsical and delightful elements, such as Humble Pie that apologizes for its own flavor and promises to taste better next time, and candy that temporarily rearranges its chewer's body parts. At times, the prose does not match the quality of the story. Debut novelist Skye resorts to telling instead of showing, especially with character descriptions; Lev's guardian, for example, is "a little man with no compassion or concern for others." Some passages are also oddly overwritten ("He didn't speak English, he spoke anguish"). However, the story's pacing is excellent, and the last hundred pages build palpable excitement and suspense. Kids and adults alike will enjoy this charming tale of good and evil, and look forward to the other books in the series.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8–Two teens, a small, furry "sycophant," and a talking toothpick try to prevent evil forces from destroying two worlds in this lighthearted fantasy. "Foo" is the world from which all dreams come, and the villainous Sabine wants to find the gateway from there into our world. This would destroy both worlds, so the reluctant title hero and his magical companions try to prevent it. The complicated plot unwinds through a playful narrative that tries, often unsuccessfully, to mix humor and suspense. There are some funny moments, but many attempts at comedy seem forced or distracting. An urgent race to Germany includes some clever plot twists, as when Leven's friend Winter uses her ice-creating power to turn an ocean into a road, but their quest never becomes truly exciting. When it turns out that the ominous "Shadows" under Sabine's command can be dismissed by a simple hand clap, it's mildly amusing, but detracts from the sense of true danger that makes an involving adventure. Leven's self-doubts and changes of heart are almost tedious, and there's little chemistry between him and Winter. Adult characters are mean, dull, and unattractive, which results in some Dahl-like humor, but soon gets repetitive. Despite some solid humor and an occasionally intriguing plot, there's not enough cohesion or consistency here to make this a rewarding fantasy.–Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 850L (What's this?)
  • Series: Leven Thumps (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; Reprint edition (July 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416928065
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416928065
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Obert Skye was born on a stormy night in the back of a fast-moving taxi. Obert spends his time telling all who will listen about the existence of Foo and the importance of dreams. Obert is a fairly ordinary fellow who says he is simply hoping to repair what he has mistakenly undone. You can visit him online at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Catherine DeMartino on January 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
An unwanted half nephew, an uncaredfor daughter, a mysterious lifelong companion, and a transformed ruler are the main characters in this book where the World of Dreams and and our view of Reality meet. These four are brought together, quite literally by fate, to complete a task that only they can manage.

Leven Thumps, 14, is the last member in his family and only he can close the gateway between the Dream World, Foo, and Reality that his grandfather created decades earlier. If he doesn't manage to do so, Foo is doomed to distruction and Reality is fated to be a world of monotony; without dreams, imagination, and creativity. His companions are: Winter, a thirteen-year-old visitor from Foo sent to help Lev in his plight, has the ability to freeze anything she wants just by thinking; Clover, a 12 inch creature from Foo who has watched over Lev since he was born; and Geth, the rightful King of Foo transformed into a seed (at least to start).

This book was fun to read and hard to put down. Parts are so funny I find myself laughing out-loud, disturbing the others around me. It has a truly full story with a distinguishable beginning, middle, and end. Even though it is the first in a series you still feel satisfied at the end that you've come to some kind of resting place while waiting, impatiently, for its sequal. Appropriate for just about any age 9-99. Parents, check the chapter titles for humorous plays on classic songs, idioms, and book titles, plus note the inclusion of a scene right out of the movie Tremors.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
All I can say is thank you Dad. My dad bought this book for me and I loved it. It was so much fun to read. I can't wait for book two.

I loved Clover and how he interacted with Leven and Winter and Geth. I think the journey across the world had a lot of interesting twists. I still think about how Geth destroyed Leven's house. What a cool idea.

I'm not a big fan of Sabine and the shadows. I have to admit he creeped me out a bit, but the way he was dealt with made me laugh.

I hope there's a lot more books in this series. I just had such a good time reading it. Long live Leven.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By T. J. Jones on August 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Obert Skye's impressive debut, "Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo" treads water with that of Lemony Snicket and Frank Baum. His prose is full of humorous whimsy (ala loveable talking toothipick!), wonderful characters, fantastic and wonderful moments, and true originality. Leven Thumps is fourteen years old, and lives a life of true sadness in Oaklahoma, where his guardians treat him cruely. This all changes when a small creature named Clover, comes and changes Leven's world; telling him that he is capable of amazing powers and is the only one who can save a wonderful place called Foo; thereby possibly saving the entire Earth itself. Leven must accomplish this all by destroying the gateway between Foo and reality before the evil Sabine can reach it and merge reality with Foo, thereby ending dreams forever in mankind. Along the way, Leven recieves help from a girl named Winter, who has the ability to freeze objects, and a talking toothpick named Geth, the rightful king of Foo. Skye weaves a wonderful plot in this first book of a proposed series. Some younger readers might think the story takes too long to be set up, but that's the main theme of a first book in a series; to introduce the readers to the characters and the world. Skye pulls the plotting of impressively, making even the the most boring setting such as Oaklahoma come alive with wonder. A good chunk of the beginning of the book is used to set up the series and the plot, but Skye handles the sometimes complicated situation with skill. Skye's originality should alone make this book a keeper seeing as the world is populated by nits, offings, sycophunts, and candy that rearranges your face rather than the usual elves, dwarves, and dragons!Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Erica Arthur on July 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Leven Thumps is kid-tested and kid-approved! In fact, our entire family loved it. My mother and my nine-year old son and everyone in between thought it was extremely entertaining. It was adventurous and very creative. And we loved the teaching moments the book has to offer. Have courage. Don't let fear stop you. Dare to dream the impossible. Believe in yourself. Believe that you can make a difference. We were very excited when our kid's school chose Leven Thumps as a recommended book for their summer reading program. We are very anxious for Obert Skye to finish book two. We can't wait to find out what happens to Leven, Winter, Clover, and Geth. Great heroes with great messages for my kids!
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By B. Capossere TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Leven Thumps admittedly has some major problems. Its main character, Leven, is too shallowly drawn and far too passive throughout the novel--more acted upon than acting. The book is overlong by about 50-70 pages with some repetitive parts. Its villain isn't sharply drawn enough and not quite villainous enough. There seems to be a disappointing pattern of equating moderate mundane villainy with being overweight or homely. And far too often Skye tells the reader what is happening rather than showing it.

Despite those many flaws, however, some of them substantial, Gateway remains a highly enjoyable read due to the author's wonderful sense of originality and whimsy. Foo is literally a sort of dreamland peopled by various creatures such as nits (humans who've wandered in accidentally and who each have a singular gift of power), rants (a creature whose body is one half is human but whose other half is in continuous flux depending on what someone in the real world is dreaming at the time) and Lithens (creatures who travel exclusively by fate). Rare is the teen fantasy (or adult for that matter) that doesn't round up the usual suspects--elves, dwarves, dragons, horseclans, etc--and Skye should be commended just for stepping out of the mold, though even more for the creative joy he shows.

Foo is threatened internally by Sabine, creator of shadows, who wishes to merge reality and foo by finding the single regular gateway between the two (the "normal" method of entering Foo is too fun to ruin by telling here).
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