Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
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)
Move over, Nancy Drew. Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer introduces a new amateur crime fighter to bookstore shelves.
Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer zips along at a quick pace, and young readers will be intrigued by the showdown of the trial.
Bulletin for the Center of Childrens Books
A rather quirky combination of Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown
Gripping... I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery. I think everyone will be enthralled by Theodore Boone.
Scripps Howard News Service
Grisham successfully translates his talent for writing fast-paced, emotionally gripping legal thrillers into a book that will have young readers whipping through the pages to see what happens next.
The Los Angeles Times
The New York Times
Not since Nancy Drew has a nosy, crime-obsessed kid been so hard to resist.
Washington Post Express
Heads up, Harriet the Spy, the Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and even those kids from 'Ghostwriter' (you all have a new crime-solver to add to the crew.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
When I saw that John Grisham had written a book for children, I was a little bit dubious especially since I have read other books by adult authors or celebrities who were trying their hand at children's books. I have to say that this book really does succeed. While the story may be a little farfetched from an adult standpoint the age group for which it is targeted will really enjoy it. Theo has spent most of his life at the law offices of his parents; he dreams of becoming a lawyer or perhaps a judge himself. He knows most of the lawyers and judges in town, court personnel and is absolutely beside himself at the prospect of attending the biggest murder trial to hit his hometown. At first the story seems reasonably straightforward giving a rundown about lawyers and how the court works, some very interesting twists dealing with immigrants, surprise witnesses, mistrials, the interaction between Theo his parents and his uncle Ike. The latter seems to be the black sheep of the family. All these events and characters are not confusing and keep the reader turning the pages to find out how the trial will end. In addition, seeing how Teddy or Theo as his friends call him is the in house lawyer at school helping his chums find solutions to their problems and solve family problems is a real treat. The story is well-written maintains a good pace and when you get to the end, which I wouldn't dare spoil, I like most others will want to know more. I can't believe there will not be a sequel featuring Theo Boone. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
VOYA - Stacey Hayman
Theo's mom is a divorce lawyer with a preference for representing the wives, and his dad is a real estate attorney. He may only be thirteen, but he already knows he'll be a lawyer or a judge one day. In fact, kids at school already ask him for legal advice on a variety of issues, and Theo's happy to help, even when his assistance leads to his involvement in one of the biggest events of Strattenburg's historythe murder trial of Peter Duffy. A boy Theo is tutoring in algebra asks for assistance on behalf of his cousin, a young man who may be a key witness in a case that's light on concrete evidence. Can Theo help solve this complicated tangle of legal threads so the guilty are convicted and the innocent go free? A book that introduces teen readers to the intricacies of the legal world is a pretty clever premise for creating a potentially long and beloved series. It was surprising, however, to find some odd inconsistencies in a work by such an accomplished author, such as Theo explaining bankruptcy law to another teen but not understanding being held in contempt of court, or his parents being devoted to him, yet he spends most of his time unsupervised. Hopefully these details will be ironed out and Theo will go on to become the Encyclopedia Brown of his generation. Reviewer: Stacey Hayman
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 6�8—Thirteen-year-old Theodore Boone's fervent wish is to become a great lawyer one day, or better yet, a great judge. Theo's parents are both lawyers and have their law firm where Theo has his own little office. Because of his knowledge of legal matters, his classmates turn to him for advice. As John Grisham's first volume (Dutton, 2010) in a projected series opens, Theo has arranged for his class to go on a field trip to the courthouse for the opening of a high-profile murder trial. Theo becomes more directly involved in the sensational murder trial when one of his friends informs him that his cousin is in possession of key evidence in the case but is too afraid to come forward because of his immigration status. Although Theo is sworn to secrecy, he must figure out how to bring this information to light before the end of the trial. The courtroom drama and background legal matters are realistically portrayed and easy to understand. There are times though, when the action slows down as Grisham weaves explanations of the legal system and process into the story. Richard Thomas's well-paced reading is appropriately youthful, and he gives each character a distinct voice. The conclusion of the novel serves as the beginning of the next and the continuation of the case.—Mary Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH