Literary Criticism and Significance

The Thief Lord is a very popular young adult novel about a band of children living in Venice who find family and friendship amidst adversity. The modern day fairy tale was well received upon publication, earning excellent reviews by Newsweek, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, and the School Library Journal. These reviews praised the book for its sense of adventure, unique and lovable characters, and creative plot twists. The novel was written by the popular children’s author Cornelia Funke, who has also authored the best seller Inkheart novels, Dragon Rider, and the Ghosthunters series. Cornelia Funke is a German writer who now lives in Los Angeles, California. Many of her books, including The Thief Lord, have won awards and been adapted into movies. Funke’s novel The Thief Lord has won many prestigious awards since its publication in the year 2000. Shortly after publication, The Thief Lord won the Zurich children's book award, the Vienna House of Literature award in 2001, and Torchlight prize from Askews Library Services in 2003. It won the 2003 Mildred L. Batchelder Award, which is an award given to books that were originally published in a foreign country, and then translated and published in the United States. The Thief Lord was first published in Germany under the German title Herr der Diebe, and then went on to be a success in other countries and other languages. This made the novel a top choice for the Batchelder Award. In 2002, the year it was published in the United States by the Chicken House publishing company (part of the Scholastic Publishing Group), The Thief Lord won the New York Times Notable Book Award, which recognizes quality writing published each year. In 2005, The Thief Lord won the Young Readers Choice Award, awarded to books nominated by readers in the Pacific Northwest. It was even made into a theatrical movie that was released by Warner Brothers in 2006 in German movie theaters, and subsequently made available on DVD by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in the United States. The novel is a favorite among children ages nine to twelve due to its enduring themes of family, identity, and growing up.