Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard

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We have been enjoying some great reads over the past few months. If I would only share them with you, right? Well, today I am making time to share about a book that you really want to add to your summer reading list!

In early 2015, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes quickly became a family favorite. Who could resist the greatest thief that ever lived?  It is quite possible that we were book stalking Jonathan Auxier’s newest release: Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard: A Peter Nimble Adventure for months. The book stalking paid off because as soon as Sophie Quire arrived at the library, it came home with us.

Peter Nimble and his loyal friend, Sir Tode have returned. This time Professor Cake has sent Peter and Sir Tode on a quest to help Sophie Quire. And who is this Sophie Quire and what is a Storyguard? Sophie Quire is a young girl who works as a book mender in her father’s bookshop. Life takes as unexpected turn when Peter arrives with a mysterious book and an offer to help her find the other three volumes.  Once Sophie opens this rare book, her life is forever changed.

“It has often been said that one should never judge a book by its cover. As any serious reader can tell you, this is terrible advice. Serious readers know the singular pleasure of handling a well-made book – the heft and texture of the case, the rasp of the spine as you life the cover, the sweet, dusty aroma of yellowed pages as they pass between your fingers. A book is more than a vessel of ideas: It is a living thing in need of love, warmth, and protection.” Sophie Quire, Page 1

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard brings to us once again the irresistible character of Peter Nimble and another exciting adventure. Pyre Day is an annual celebration in Bustleburg. A day each year where nonsense is sent into the flames of the Pyre of Progress. This year,  Inquisitor Prigg, has decided that storybooks will be tossed into the Pyre; these childish stories are the ultimate source of nonsense and must be destroyed. In an effort to save not only Bustleburg but the world, Sophie must find four magical books. There are those who will do anything to stop Sophie, Peter and Sir Tode from this quest.

“No, my foolish scribbler. I have made this world better. Safer. More dependable. There are no more fairy feasts in Bustleburgh, but neither are there starving widows. The lame man no longer experiences miraculous healing, but he now has a physician to soothe his pain. Children have no time for perilous adventures, because they are employed in productive work. We have no glass orchards or wishing wells, but we do have courthouses and factories and hospitals and schools.”

“But to destroy all magic everywhere…” Sophie said. “There must be some other way.”

“Haven’t you been listening?” Prigg said. “The world is not big enough for both man and magic – perhaps it never was. In order for man to live, magic must die.”

“Magic cannot die,” Scriverner Behn said, stepping toward him. “So long as there is wonder in the hearts of men, so, too, will there be magic.” Sophie Quire – Page 337

Jonathan Auxier has a gift with words. He has again woven together a tale of adventure that takes us on a worthy quest.  We experience again the beauty of friendship and sacrifice. We journey beside our friends, Peter, Sophie, and Sir Tode, to save the magic in this world. We find that we can’t wait to turn the page. We laugh out loud. We nod our head in agreement. We can’t wait to see how it will all end and then we sigh when there is not another page to turn.

If you have an adventure loving kiddo, you will want to read Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard. If your home is overrun with those who know the beauty of a story bound in the pages of a book, read Sophie. There is no age limit. I read this aloud and we all enjoyed it. From my four year old to me, we eagerly anticipated each evening’s reading. Be prepared for your children to suddenly need blindfolds and swords. A sack to hold a book or two is an added bonus.

**Not necessary, but I would recommend reading Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes first. Jonathan Auxier also wrote The Night Gardner which is a Victorian ghost story that we enjoyed as well.

Sophie thought she might understand what he meant by this. For all the hours she had spent repairing books, she knew that stories were much more than words on a page. Stories lived inside those who read them. It was like Sophie with her mother. She might not have remembered her mother’s face or voice or touch, but those things were a part of her all the same. Maybe that was Prigg’s real folly,” she said, drawing a strand of hair behind her ear. “Magic cannot be removed from the world, because the world – every speck of it- is magical. It is simply a matter of whether or not we can see it. Sophie Quire – Page 439

One aspect of Auxier’s writing we appreciate, is that he embraces words without fear or hesitation. I am always so pleased with the range of vocabulary used in his writings as well as his boldness in producing a long read. At 444 pages, Sophie Quire is a book to settle down with for a long visit. Do not let the length deter you. A worthy read, in deed.

Most of these books have grown shy in their old age, preferring to sit quietly on the shelf. But if ever you find a very dusty book on a very out-of-the-way bookcase, put it to your ear and listen closely. What do you hear? The faint rustle of pages, the creak of an old spine, and the hushed song of a story waiting to be read. Sophie Quire – Page 444

I hope you are enjoying a bit of summer reading to beat the heat. What good books have your and your children enjoyed this summer? Let me know if you read Sophie Quire!

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