The Wish Stealers

The Wish Stealers

by Tracy Trivas


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416987260
Publisher: Aladdin
Publication date: 02/08/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 283
Sales rank: 581,962
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

TRACY TRIVAS, a graduate of Dartmouth College, won a Dartmouth Graduate Fellowship to study Victorian Literature at Oxford University, England. She received her Masters Degree in English from Middlebury College. She directed a Gifted and Talented program in a Los Angeles private school and has published gifted and talented workbooks as well as an adult non-fiction book, A Princess Found. The Wish Stealers is her first book for children. She lives in California with her family.

Read an Excerpt

The Wish Stealers 1

Griffin Penshine had three freckles under her left eye that sometimes looked like stars. This was a good thing, as Griffin was always wishing. She wished when a ladybug landed on a windowsill, she wished on dandelion dust, and she even wished on tumbling eyelashes. In fact, she often rescued the eyelash of a friend and reminded her to wish. But then again, Griffin always noticed the smallest of details. She could track her way out of a forest, spotted everything from worms to woodbeetles, and giggled at absurd words on menus like “jumbo shrimp.” Griffin also liked certain things a certain way. She loved peanut butter on brownies, hated wearing turtlenecks, and insisted her mom buy cool mint toothpaste.

On the last Sunday of a hot Kansas summer, a ladybug flew in through Griffin’s bedroom window and landed on her arm. Griffin smiled and opened her new blue-lined notebook and scribbled her next few wishes.

I wish all vegetables had cool names like bok choy, alfalfa, and parsnip.

I wish to become an amazing bass guitarist.

Griffin thought for a moment and then crossed off her first wish. She didn’t want to waste a wish on vegetables. As for being a great bass guitarist, she wished for that every chance she got. Too bad she hadn’t wished for protection. But how could she know that within one hour the most horrible curse would fling itself at her and coil through her long, beautiful shiny red hair?

“Griffin!” called her mom from downstairs. “We’re going to be late.” Griffin’s mother, an astronomer, loved to calculate the time it would take to reach Saturn, Neptune, the Andromeda galaxy, and even the center of town. She knew if they didn’t leave in five minutes they would not make their afternoon appointments. Dr. Penshine hated being late, and she loved to wear her huge collection of inspirational T-shirts that said things like SAVE THE EARTH. Only now that Dr. Penshine was pregnant, the words stretched over her huge bump and read save the ear.

Griffin giggled from the top of the stairs. “I like your shirt, Mom.”

Dr. Penshine looked down at her bulging tummy. “Ears need saving too!” she said, laughing.

Griffin grabbed her bass guitar, ran down the stairs, and slid into the car.

“Before I drop you off at your music lesson, I need to make a fifteen-minute stop at Mr. Schmidt’s shop,” said her mom. “He received a shipment of artifacts from Egypt—ancient clay scarab beetles—and an antique model of the solar system from an English castle. He’s saving them for me.”

“Okay,” said Griffin. She didn’t mind stopping. Mr. Schmidt, their neighbor, had the strangest objects at his store. Maybe she would find something for her pet turtle, Charlemagne’s, terrarium or a good luck charm for tomorrow—the first day of sixth grade at her new middle school—or some cool object for her Mysterium Collection Box that she hid under her bed.

Although it was only a shoe box with a rectangle of midnight blue felt lining the bottom, inside the box were two eagle feathers passed down by her great-grandfather before they became illegal to keep, half of a heart from her best-friend-forever necklace she shared with Libby Barrett, an old lace valentine her grandma Penshine had made as a girl, and three smooth stones.

Her grandma had given her the three lucky stones: a moonstone thought to have the power to grant wishes, a tigereye for courage, and a piece of purple amethyst. Her grandma said Leonardo da Vinci believed amethyst could protect people from evil and make them smarter.

Too bad she didn’t take her purple stone in her pocket that morning. But she wouldn’t think of that until it was too late.

A COLLECTIBLES, ANTIQUES, AND WONDERS sign hung above the door to Mr. Schmidt’s tiny shop.

Griffin pushed open the door. Rusted bells jingled, and smells of dust, must, and exotic spices twisted up her nose. Long rows of glass shelves with faded lace fans, heavy silver hand mirrors, ladies’ hair combs made of bone and shell, and stained decks of old maid cards glowed under the dim cabinet light.

At the back of the store, from behind a velvet curtain, Mr. Schmidt poked his head out. “Good morning, Dr. Penshine and Griffin,” he said. “Let me get that prized antique I was telling you about.” He shuffled away.

Griffin bent her head over a glass case, looking at the lapis eye of a peacock feather and a mirror made of pitch-black polished stone. A handwritten card attached to the exotic feather read: From India 1913. Believed to make wishes come true. Under the circular black stone the card read: Obsidian mirror—used by the ancient Alchemists, passed down from Aztec priests. See your future!

A chill blasted through the room, and Griffin looked up. Behind the counter appeared the oldest woman she had ever seen, wearing a long black dress with a wilting red lily pinned to it. With her greasy gray hair pulled tightly into a bun, the woman’s face resembled a shriveled apple. Wicked wrinkles gouged in her skin, and a grid of purple veins looked like a grotesque spiderweb covering her face.

Griffin stared.

The woman’s eyes drank in Griffin. Then in a low, crackly voice she said, “Only once before in my life have I seen that shiny liquid red color woven into a girl’s hair—half autumn leaves and caramel kisses, half blazing sunset.”

“Griff?” said her mom, coming from behind her. “Find anything?”

“Dr. Penshine and Griffin, forgive me,” said Mr. Schmidt, returning from the back room. “I need to introduce my great-aunt Mariah Weatherby Schmidt, who has come from Topeka to visit for a few weeks. She offered to help me today at the store.”

A sinister smile curled on Mariah’s cracked lips. “What a pleasure to meet you, Griffin Penshine. What are you looking for today?”

“Something for my turtle’s terrarium or something lucky for the first day of school,” Griffin said.

“I see,” said Mariah, her yellow eyes narrowing. “I have just the thing for you. One moment.”

Griffin looked at her mom, but she was too busy examining the antique model of the solar system.

Mariah disappeared through the heavy curtain. Griffin’s head spun. The scent of spices, mandarin orange, dried lavender, cloves, and incense pounded in her brain. “Mom, I have a headache. I’m going to wait outside.”

“Okay. I’ll be five more minutes,” she said.

Just as Griffin’s hand touched the doorknob to leave, Mariah’s cold hand brushed hers. “Where are you going, dear?” She held out a ring box. “This is for you.”

“What is it?” asked Griffin, not moving from the door.

“Open it,” the old woman said, beckoning with her long, spindly fingers.

Griffin slowly took the box from Mariah’s bony hand and looked inside. Beams of light shot out all over the ceiling like lasers, illuminating the store. Carefully Griffin removed a single Indian Head penny.

It bounced in her hand.

“That’s the shiniest penny I’ve ever seen,” said Dr. Penshine.

“I’m sure it is,” said Mariah. “I never forget to ... polish it. It is priceless. An Indian Head penny from 1897. Very rare, very valuable, and shall we say ... very lucky.”

“Wow,” said Griffin, mesmerized by the pulsing glow. Droplets of light sprinkled all over the room.

“It must be yours!” said Mariah, her eyes flashing.

The strangest sensation knotted inside Griffin, part repulsion, part desire. “How much is it?” she asked.

“It is my special gift to you.” Mariah smiled wickedly. For a moment Griffin swore Mariah looked younger, luminescent, something wild and alive in her eyes.

“I can’t take something priceless for free,” said Griffin, now blinded by the magnificent penny.

“Just promise you’ll keep it shiny, and it will be ... worth it to me. You will accept my gift, won’t you?”

Every cell in Griffin’s body fought to say, “No. No, thank you!” But the Indian Head penny shined so hypnotically that Griffin could hardly speak. Her pupils dilated from the beams shooting off the penny. She tried to shake her head, stop the odd breeze that whirled around her body. No, she mouthed, but no sound came out. Instead “Yes” exhaled from her lips.

Mariah froze. Then very deliberately she said, “It is done. Let me get a box of polishing cloths from the back for you. Give me a few moments to find it.”

Griffin tucked the penny into her pocket, and it burned against her skin.

Penny, penny bring me luck,
’cause I’m the one who picked you up.

Customer Reviews

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The Wish Stealers 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 78 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever totally worth it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best Book Eva!!!
Kate Schmiege More than 1 year ago
I love this book i will never forget it! I definetly recomend it!!!!! On a scale from one to ten it is a ten!!!!!!!!great characters and really well written!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're skeptical about buying this book, you shouldn't be. It was an excellent read, and it really made you think about what you wish for. Very inspiring. Four stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book and would reccomend it to a friend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is the best book i finished it in 30 mins luv it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE WISH STEALERS! Its so epic and you don't want to put it down! #-#
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a good book with a lesson (kinda)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good book....very very good Definitely worth buying
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Adult, teens, & kids 10 and up will LOVE LIVE LOVE this book
Sophie Long More than 1 year ago
My name is in a book no i'm kidding with you i love this book I've read the book 1 time and it is very intence I love it
Sydney Carlson More than 1 year ago
good book for people who believe in wishes and curses and that kind of a thing uu
Armand Bourdais More than 1 year ago
i love this book
Kayleigh Harnden More than 1 year ago
this book was so great i have 4 people lined up to read it. i luv that book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it!!!!! Pennies for the planet is real!!!!! U should donate if u liked this book!!!!!! :):):)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has inspired me to be what I want to be. Griffin is like myself because she wants to be a great bass guitarist just like me. I'm always making wish too. I wished for a bass guitar for Christmas because after I played Guitar Hero as the bass, i just always wanted a bass. That's probably somethkng Griffin wished for at my age and got it. The book has inspired me in many ways.
Avery_7 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This book was very good. I rated it 5 stars. I think it is my favorite book so far.
girlwithpearls on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Wish Stealers was a good book. It was lighthearted even thought there was drama. It is an easy read if ever in need for a book report!
CCCalGal on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Tracy has done a marvelous job taking an ordinary your girl and turning her into a role model for all young ladies. Self-control, sincerety, well-wishing towards others helps this character come to life and into her own as she fights her own inner jealousies and selfishness. As a terrible curse is passed onto to her from an old woman she discovers that it can be broken by helping other's wishes come true. This fun adventure will keep you on edge, reading right up to the end. Can she break the curse in time before people around her start dying? You'll have to read to find out. Highly recommended for fourth grade and up.
YouthGPL on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Elly says, "Griffin Penshine believes wishes come true, but when she is tricked into accepting pennies from a Wish Stealer, she comes under a curse that twists every good wish into the opposite result, and every mean wish comes true. She must find a way to return the pennies to their original owners, or at least to someone who is wishing for the same thing, to break the curse before all of her good wishes twist into unthinkable events for her family. The Wish Stealer is a creepy old woman, and after death, reappears as the three witches from Macbeth. Griffin's difficulties in fitting into a new school, problems with her ecological science project and her deep love and concern for her family are believeable. The tension between her and "The Mean Girls" is also realistic. The story moves very quickly, the action dove-tails, it wraps up neatly with happy endings over-all. A little predictable for oldere readers but the middle elementary readers will enjoy it.
CatheOlson on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Twelve-year-old Griffin's life is turned upside-down when a scary old woman gives her a box of pennies and a curse that her good wishes won't come true but her bad wishes will. She must find a way to return the stolen wishes or she is doomed to be a "wish stealer" forever. This book is told through very short chapters and moves quickly. I found most of the story to be way too full of coincidences. Griffin seems to have just too easy of a time returning the wishes . . . also the connections of her grandmother to the wish stealer also seems overly coincidental. I did, however, like the main character--her honesty, her struggle to be better, and her mission to save the planet by raising pennies. I will pass this on to my 5th grade daughter as I think she will enjoy the characters, as well as the school dynamics.
stephxsu on LibraryThing 10 months ago
When an old woman presents young Griffin Penshine with a box full of eleven shiny 1897 Indian Head pennies, Griffin¿s life is turned upside down when she discovers that the pennies are actually stolen wishes! Griffin must return the stolen wishes, or else her own wishes still never come true ever again. But how will she return the wishes when many of those original wish-makers are no longer alive?THE WISH STEALERS is a quick and interesting read with important lessons about individual strength buried within an entertaining tale.I found most remarkable the way with which Tracy Trivas infuses this admittedly far-fetched tales with the universal morals of taking responsibility and action for your own happiness, instead of relying on wishful thinking. The late elementary/early middle schoolers that are the target audience for this book might miss that, but the subconscious implications are clear and make this a great tale to share with parent and child.Several elements of THE WISH STEALERS unfortunately didn¿t quite ring true for me. Nearly all of the school scenes¿hateful teachers, impossibly difficult workloads, quizzes in the first week of school¿felt faked. Certain magical elements (such as the Macbeth witches) popped in and out of the story with seemingly no better reason than to add to the creepiness factor, while coincidences that help Griffin out with her task happen too serendipitously to be truly believable.Nevertheless, young readers will be able to enjoy the seemingly challenging yet actually quite smooth way in which Griffin goes about righting other people¿s wrongs. THE WISH STEALERS is ultimately a charming story with a great message about the importance of believing in yourself and taking charge of your own happiness.