On October the eleventh in the learning commons, the grade fives were peering in awe at the writer in front of him. It was hard to tell who was more excited about the visit, the kids or Jonathan Auxier. Auxier is the writer of the novel Peter Nimble and His Fantastic eyes, and the Night Gardener. It was like you could feel the energy and excitement radiating from the room. Auxier hardly stayed still more than a handful of seconds, gesturing with his hands wildly or performing tricks with his yo-yo, as he told the story of a poor blind orphan called Peter Nimble.
He started by stirring the audience up a little bit by talking about their favorite books, talking about everything from Harry Potter to Narnia, before jumping head first into the story of Peter Nimble. Using his yo-yo, he spun a tale about how a young orphan became the most talented thief in the world.
Peter Nimble was only a baby when he was found in a basket on the sea, with his eyes pecked out by a raven. Due to the, well, lack of parents, Peter had to learn how to feed himself from a young age and since he was only a child without any parents to get food for him, he had to learn how to steal. As time went on, his skills improved until he got so good at it, he could steal everything from someone’s pockets and disappear from sight before they realized they had been robbed. Life continued on like this until one fateful day, he was caught by a man called Mr. Seamus. Impressed by Peters’ skills, Mr. Seamus adopted him and locked him in a cellar and began to teach him how to steal properly. By the age of ten, Peter had become the best thief in the world, and one rainy, dark, and desolate afternoon, peter stole a treasure that would change his life. What is this treasure? Well, you’re going to have to read the book to find out. But don’t despair, because this isn’t Auxiers’ only tale.
Now this story is about two Irish siblings; Molly, who is a fourteen year old maid, and Kip, who is only ten. It opens up with a storyteller at a lonely dirt crossroad. Fleeing from the potato famine, the siblings find themselves riding in the back of an old cart heading towards their new jobs at the sour woods. In the sour woods they work for a rich, pale, sickly family. On the first night, while the whole house was asleep, Molly wakes with a start and hears loud thumps, making their way across the first floor above her head. The thumping happens every night, and Molly is forced to cower as the dreadful sounds fill the basement where she sleeps, until one day, she decides to investigate. That, my readers, is where we leave off.
After finishing with his storytelling on a slightly darker and mysterious note, Auxier lets the quiet continue for a couple of moments before launching back into his rapid fire and slightly nerdy self, talking passionately about how his love for the book Treasure Island inspired him to write peter nimble. Now, for those of you who haven’t read Treasure Island, at the beginning, there is a man named blind old Pew. Blind old Pew is a pathetic old beggar, but is not helpless in any way. He is in fact, a deadly pirate who attacks Jim, the main character, and threatens him and his mother. When Auxier first read Treasure Island, he was intrigued by how such a helpless character can turn deadly in a mere couple of seconds. “Blind old Pew inspired me to write Peter Nimble. His character showed how you shouldn’t judge people by what they look like.” exclaimed Auxier. Jonathan Auxier concluded his interview by calling up some members from the audience to assist him with a demonstration. He starts by blindfolding them and placing various objects under their noses and asking them to identify the smell. Then he had them try and guess what it was by feeling the objects with their hands. After removing the blindfold, the participants were surprised to discover that objects they were feeling and smelling where a pair of shoes, some flowers, and a fan. This authors visit was certainly one of the best one yet!