34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2005
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.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2006
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.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2005
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! The one minor problem as other reviewers have mentioned is that Skye sometimes tells the readers about situations rather than explaining them, which is a passable mistake and does not detract from the wonder of the story. So fantasy lovers, come join Leven, Winter, Clover, and Geth on their quirky, funny, and fantastical adventure to Foo where the word impossible doesn't exist and dreams become reality! (Highly reccommended.)
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2005
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!
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
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). Leven, your typical teen-who-has-a-quest-sprung-on-him character, is joined by Winter (a young girl his age of the same character mold), Clover (a small cat-like creature from Foo attached to Leven since birth), and Geth (who various incarnations include, yes, a talking toothpick).
Not enough is done with Foo itself, though clearly it will be more fully explored in the second book so that isn't much of a complaint. The plot has it fits and starts and can get repetitive, but Skye often saves it with more startlingly original ideas and humorous lines/dialogue. Geth the talking toothpick, for example, is perhaps the most original character I've seen and it's near impossible to read his sections without a constant chuckle. There are other examples but why ruin them?
Winter is a pretty strongly drawn character, as is Geth and even to some extent Clover, though less so. Unfortunately, Leven himself is not as strong and since Sabine is also a relatively weakly drawn character, their conflict at the center of the book pales quite a bit.
As mentioned, despite the many flaws, Gateway is highly enjoyable, certainly one of the most original books in this genre I've read (and I've read a lot) if not one of the best written. But given the choice of another adequately or slightly above average cookie-cutter fantasy for teens and one not as well written but populated by fresh ideas, I'll take the latter. One also assumes, or at least hopes, that the author will improve on the flaws in book two, while keeping the originality and humor. Strongly recommended despite its problems.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2008
Need an adventure when you're bored? If you want an amazing, creative, daring, awesome, and yet funny journey, then you need to get the Leven Thumps series. Along with the author, Obert Skye, you will cross the threshold into Foo and might not return.
Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo is an amazing adventure story written by the awesome author, Obert Skye. With 368 pages this book is a definite, "Want to read this all night book."
My favorite part of the book is when Leven thump meets his sycophant (sick-o-funt) and later tries some of his weird candy for the very first time. Another one of my favorite parts is when Geth gets brought into the story as a toothpick.
An offing, a nit, a toothpick, and a sycophant. When they all meet for the first time they are trapped in awe because they finally figure out what they really are capable of. Then they get told that they must go to a place called Foo, a mystic land that you can mostly only enter accidently. But on their way to Foo, they get attacked by an avaland, a giant dirt lizard. But the offing, Leven Thump, use's his power to manipulate the future and kills the avaland with a splat! Then..... well you'll have to read the book to find out the rest. A couple books similar to this one is the Harry Potter series or the Leven thumps books 2, 3, and 4. I think ages 10-14 should read this book. I would recommend this book for anybody who would want a page turner to make you read it all night until you finish. And once you've read the first book, you'll have to read the rest of this great series.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2005
Leven Thumps is quite an intriguing story. It tells the tale of a life of fantasy intertwined into our reality. The plot carries the reader quickly through the pages. The stories of Lev and Winter show how to find a life with meaning and purpose, even in the most dismal of situations. Where the flaw hides is in the character of the protagonists. Their age leaves older readers wanting more connection to the characters. Their actions and words convey their age all too well, and sometimes alienate those past high school. Beyond this minor defect, there is a story that rivals other fantasy. It's a good read.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
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.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2005
Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo is a page turner. This book is very exiciting and has adventure and it does not go to far and make the story seem predictable. I also thought that they made Leven real in the life issues he has. It is possible for what happened to him in his life BEFORE the whole magic thing was introduced to him. He was an average student leading a awful life. This book also went into detail and did not go overboard on it. It also ended to where it made you want to get the second book to the series and it did not rush the story, it made the book sound more natural and made it feel like you were there going through the trama that occured. They were also feeling real emotions and had a real personality and they were definitly not stereotyped. I gave this book 5 stars.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2005
My family and I loved this book. This book is filled with hilarious and creative images--like a talking toothpick with a splinter for an arm, two kids driving across the Atlantic Ocean on a bridge made of ice, and a villain so evil every shadow he casts tries to leave. There are no goblins or trolls or vampires or fairies or elves, because Obert Skye willfully defies the unwritten rule that says fantasy authors have to use the same dozen creatures as every author before them. Instead, he peoples "Leven Thumps" with Lithens--people who travel entirely by fate; Sycophants--foot-tall creatures whose only power is to make people fall asleep and dream about how great Sycophants are; Nits--who can freeze anything with a thought; and more.
"Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo" is unlike anything I've ever read, and incredibly fun. There are good reasons it's flying off the shelves, and those include excellent writing, a unique story, and unforgettable characters. Read it, read it, read it!