Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert SkyeReviewed by Cindy
Language: There are a few instances of name calling such as brat and “Skunk”. It is mentioned that a few people curse.
Violence: “Shadows” attack a man and he dies. Two bullies with BB guns push Leven around. Leven manipulates the weather and uses lightening to chase the bullies. Leven is punched by another boy. A being in the persona of a tree wreaks havoc on a home and its occupants. A man threatens Leven with physical violence. A snake catches and swallows Leven and Winter. Clover bites Leven which causes him to fall into a dreamlike state. “Shadows” attack people in a train station. Sabine threatens to kill Leven. A frozen being is shattered into thousands of pieces.
Adult Themes: A storm causes fire, destruction and death. Leven’s father dies in a car accident one week before he is born, and his mother dies after giving birth to him. A baby girl is born and not wanted by her mother. The father left months before she was born. Babies are switched in the hospital. Leven is not loved by his Aunt or Uncle and is even forced to sleep on the porch each night. Likewise, Winter is not loved or treated well by her mother. Some people occasionally go missing and end up in Foo, never to return to earth. Terry goes to a bar. He has money stashed away for drinking. Geth experiences painful changes. A few vehicles are stolen by the characters in the story, resulting in a police chase. There is mention of stolen treasure by some fishermen. The characters don’t always pay for the things they need. There is mention of a man smoking a pipe. At one point, Leven has a vision of his death.
Fourteen-year-old Leven Thumps was born into sad circumstances and lives a lonely existence with an uncaring Aunt and Uncle in Burnt Culvert, Oklahoma. But Leven comes to discover who he really is and what he was meant to do with the help of a little creature named Clover, a thirteen-year-old girl who can freeze things named Winter, and an unusual little being named Geth, who happens to be the king of Foo. Leven never dreamed that his purpose would lead him to the world of Foo, the place of people’s hopes and dreams. He must reach the gateway between earth and Foo before Sabine takes over both worlds and carries out his evil plans.
There are five books in the Leven Thumps series with “Gateway to Foo” being book one. This story uses quite a bit of imagination and would appeal to children in grades 5 through 8 in particular. I did appreciate the absence of inappropriate language and sexual content, although the description of the negative people in the story seemed to associate them with being fat, lazy and unattractive, while thin people were kind and beautiful. The back of the book has a glossary of terms which I would recommend reading first to better understand the world the author has created. Drawings of some of the characters were included throughout the book as well. A favorite quote was, “Optimism is our best ally.” It was good to read about individuals who came to know of their worth and potential and were willing to make the necessary sacrifices for the benefit of others.