**STARRED REVIEW** "... rife with suspense, droll and poignant moments, and the occasional brutal confrontation, Auxier’s worthy, absorbing follow-up is also a thought-provoking look at classic literary tropes, including their fanciful, sometimes darker, nature and themes... Ultimately, this affecting, compelling story stands on its own, embodying and highlighting the power and impact of tales well told—and why they endure."
**STARRED REVIEW** “With Auxier’s exceptional character development, even minor characters display vulnerability, interesting quirks, and depth. The major characters, even the villains, shine, with layers revealed through actions and very natural dialogue.
"Auxier has created an electrifying and extraordinary story. Middle grade readers will likely wish to reread to appreciate the wonder that is this book."
School Library Connection
Gr 4–7—In the grand tradition of Cornelia Funke's Inkheart and John Stephens's The Emerald Atlas comes this companion novel to Auxier's Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes. Twelve-year-old Sophie Quire mends books in her father's shop and worries about Pyre Day, when Inquisitor Prigg will burn all the storybooks and purge all the "nonsense" from Bustleburgh. Enter dauntless Peter Nimble, the blindfolded thief, and his enchanted companion Sir Tode with the Book of Who for Sophie to mend. The Book is one of four magical tomes (Who, What, Where, When); if all four books are collected, they will unlock a riddle and save the world. Sophie, Peter, and Sir Tode follow the book's clues, dogged by Inquisitor Prigg, his bloodthirsty henchman Torvald Knucklemeat, and Madame Eldritch the potion maker, a tricky woman with her own motives. The final battle to retrieve the books assembles most of the cast in Bustleburgh, where the story began. It's impossible to feel lukewarm about Auxier's work. This author so clearly views books as the elixir of life, and this conviction oozes out of the text. This fast-paced, character-gallery book remains anchored by Sophie's passion for reading and family. Various magical settings like a menagerie surrounded by deadly quickbramble serve as proper backdrop for capacious bestiaries that can describe any person or thing in existence. The final unraveling of the dangers Sophie faces is so intense readers may need to take a breath as they turn the pages. VERDICT A fantastically done fantasy that will be enthusiastically embraced by middle grade bibliophiles.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT
Sophie is given an extraordinary book to repair, and with it comes all manner of magic and danger. If E. Nesbit penned Don Quixote, the results would be something like this extravagant tale. In this sequel to Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes (2011), that book's title character returns to meet his equal in Sophie, a 12-year-old bookmender. She has dark skin, unlike most of her fellow Bustleburghers, inherited from her deceased mother, who came from a faraway island. Peter delivers to her the magical Book of Who, which puts her in the sights of Inquisitor Prigg, whose life objective is to destroy all nonsense, most specifically storybooks. Sophie quickly learns that the danger to her is very real, as she is a Storyguard, like her mother before her. In the dubious company of charms-purveyor Madame Eldritch, a hexed mandrake, Sir Tode (a small, hooved, catlike creature), and a giant silver tigress, Sophie must find and protect the other three books: of what, where, and when, of course. Together, the four volumes contain information about all the magic that ever existed. Themes of parental legacy, friendship, and the permanence of stories in the minds of their readers are woven through this elaborate adventure. Auxier balances delectable language, invigorating nonsense, and wisdom with aplomb. This novel should be in the hands of every human young enough at heart to be enchanted by the written word. (Fantasy. 8-12)