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Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer Hardcover – May 25, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Series: Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer
  • Hardcover: 263 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Children's Books; 1 edition (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525423842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525423843
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.2 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (842 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–8— While the ending may be anticlimactic, Grisham brings to his crossover bid the lapidary prose and frank insider's view of this country's legal system that makes his adult best sellers so absorbing. Only 13 but already so much a lawyer in his own mind that he keeps an "office" at home and dispenses legal advice to classmates and even adults, Theo finds himself in over his head when he's told in strict confidence that there's an eyewitness to a high-profile local murder whose perp is about to walk due to lack of evidence. That witness is an illegal immigrant, and so is understandably afraid of coming forward. What to do? Grisham injects occasional side remarks into the narrative (students in Theo's school are gender-separated "according to a new policy adopted by the smart people in charge of educating all the children in town,") and he embroiders Theo's dilemma with intriguing public and behind-the-scenes looks at courts, lawyers, and the realities of the judicial process. He also sets up the plot to move in ominous directions in future episodes—which partly, at least, compensates for leaving the murder trial unresolved at the end of this one. Expect heavy publicity-driven demand.
John Peters, New York Public Library

From Booklist

After years of taking on lawyers of the adult persuasion, best-selling writer Grisham turns to a lawyer who's only 13. Well, Theo Boone hasn't taken the bar, but he offers advice to his friends, hangs out at the courthouse, and watches Perry Mason reruns. Things turn serious, however, when a witness to a murder, a young illegal immigrant, comes to Theo with evidence. The trial is in full swing, and it looks like the defendant will walk unless Theo comes forward. But he's promised the young man he will keep his identity confidential. What should he do? Grisham doesn't have the whole writing-for-kids thing down quite yet. His style, a little stiff, sometimes seems as if it's written for an earlier era. In one howler, he introduces Theo's teacher: “He always addressed them as ‘men' and for thirteen-year-olds there was no greater compliment.” The moral dilemma Grisham poses is interesting, but when Theo (logically) calls in the adults, it loses tension. Problem-solver Theo sometimes seems like a sophisticated Encylopedia Brown, and as with the boy detective, expect to see more of him. Grades 6-8. --Ilene Cooper

More About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, John Grisham was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby--writing his first novel. Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.That might have put an end to Grishams hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller. Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, and The Appeal) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 225 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man.

Photo credit Maki Galimberti

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Customer Reviews

I read this with my 10 year old son.
Jay
Along the way, there was no mystery, very little action or suspense and almost no humor whatsoever to punch the story up and keep us turning the pages.
Mary Kate
I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading detective stories, especially with a young kid being the star of the story.
Phyllis Tarrant

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

193 of 206 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Widtfeldt on June 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have worked in a middle school library for 19 years and I think this book would be a hard sell. There is not enough action and at times it felt like a lecture on law. The ending was flat. Grisham should read the competition for this age group. The late Robert Parker (Chasing The Bear, The Boxer and the Spy and The Edenville Owls)did a great job on his three titles for YA readers - great for reluctant male readers. Andy McNab - Traitor, Robert Muchamore - The Recruit, Anthony Horowitz - Gatekeepers Series, Jack Higgins - Surefire and David Gilman - Devil's Breath, know how to take the kids to an intensity in a storyline that rivals video games. Do some summer reading Mr. Grisham.
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201 of 225 people found the following review helpful By Mary Kate on May 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was happy to learn that best-selling author John Grisham was entering the youth market with Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer, the first of a planned series. I read and enjoyed a few of his earlier books some years back and knew he was capable of telling a compelling story. Because I think children and young adults deserve great storytelling (how else will we instill a love of reading in them?), I was looking forward to Grisham's contribution.

Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations. Not only was it not great, it wasn't even particularly good.

Thirteen year old Theodore Boone wants to be a lawyer - or perhaps a judge - he hasn't quite decided yet. He loves to hang out at the courthouse and sit in on trials whenever he can. He knows most of the legal types about town - judges, clerks, bailiffs, etc. and they all know him by name. At school, classmates approach him with their troubles and he gives them legal advice. When one of those classmates takes Theo aside and tells him that his cousin may be an important witness to a murder currently being tried before Theo's friend, Judge Gantry, Theo finds himself involved.

It's a good premise. But Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer stumbles as soon as it steps up to the plate. For the first 60 pages of the 260 page novel, Theo plods from place to place having (mostly) meaningless and (mostly) uninteresting conversations with (mostly) unimportant-to-the-plot characters. It's an awkward beginning to what I had believed would be a legal thriller, kid style.

And while the pace did pick up a bit around that 60 page mark when we began to learn details of the murder, the expected thrills never materialized.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my 14-year-old as a summer reading book. I did read it first so I could know what he was talking about while giving me his daily chapter summery. I very much enjoyed it!

I wouldn't recommend it for a non-avid reader less than about 10 years old, though. It is very well written, but it is not childishly written, if you know what I mean. This is no Magic Treehouse book. I reads exactly like any other John Grisham novel, except is is clearly geared for middle school aged kids.

That being said, my 14-year old has already read the first 2 chapters and is getting sucked into it despite his every intention to hate any book that isn't a graphic novel.
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62 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Dianna on October 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am very disappointed because my son enjoyed reading Theodore Boone, young Lawyer. I thought I would order more of the series. I just so happens there are four different Titles and four different covers for the same book we have discovered so far. WHY????? I have all four because I thought I was ordering different books so it cost me around $54. The titles are
Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer, Theodore Boone, Theodore Boone Young lawyer and Theodore Boone Half the Man Twice the Lawyer.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By AJE on August 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Picked up this book in the bookshop, read a couple of pages, and was engaged. Being a new release it still full price, but I really wanted to read on so, seeing as it was a Grisham novel, I assumed it would be money well spent (was sadly mistaken)! The book started off well and continued to build (if somewhat slowly) to a point where the main character (a child) needs to involve older & wiser members of his family. From this point on the story becomes pretty ordinary and everyday - I'd even say boring. There was a menacing character who lurked around the edges of the story, but he never really became anyone of consequence. As I read the final page I actually thought that I must have bought an unfinished copy of the book! "It must be a mis-print", I thought. But no, It was not! I got on the web to check how many chapters were supposed to be in the book only to find lots of other readers were also left bewildered and dis-satisfied by the sudden end. Can't believe I paid full price. Bummer! Will make sure I only buy cheap 2nd hand Grishams from now on!
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66 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Joshua on May 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Disappointing... on several levels...

When I first heard Grisham was doing a YA novel, I thought here's a chance to have a riveting crime fiction tale from one of the best in the page-turner business...

Here's what I found:

1. 100 pages to get to any riveting drama... he's lost 98% of my students by then... it does get interesting for about 80-100 pages with a lot of promise but fizzle...

2. Dated characters... Theodore reads like a Encyclopedia Brown impersonation... since when do 13 year olds not date... the two female characters are very brief walkon stereotypes... the witness ditto...

3. After finally getting to the meat of the story, nothing happens... the ending is beyond anticlimactic, offers no real resolution and clearly just setting up a sequel... there is no danger... there is barely the tiniest hint of danger... the book just ends...

So will I be purchasing this book for our media center? No. Disappointed.
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