The Thief Lord


Cornelia Funke

Number of Pages: 


Minimum grade level: 


Welcome to the magical underworld of Venice, Italy, where hidden canals and deserted old theaters shelter runaway children and orphans with incredible secrets.. Prosper and Bo, orphans on the run from their cruel aunt and uncle, join the thief lord who leads a ring of street children in petty crimes.

When the detective who is looking for the two boys spills the beans about Scipio's real father, the group begins to fall apart. At the same time they take on a big theft for a huge sum and find themselves in the middle of a mystery that has never been solved, the disappearance of a magical merry-go-round. Soon the boys are thrust into circumstances that will lead them to a fantastic, spellbinding conclusion. 

Discussion questions

  1. Was it a good idea for Prosper and Bo to run away to Venice? Why or why not?
  2. Is Victor really a good detective or is he lucky?
  3. Why do you think Scipio pretends to be the Thief Lord?
  4. Why is Prosper so protective of Bo?
  5. Why does Bo look up to the Thief Lord?
  6. Would you make the same choices that Prosper makes?
  7. Why doesn't Victor turn in the boys when he finds them?
  8. Why does Ida help the boys?
  9. What do you think happens to Renzo and Morosina in the end?
  10. If you could become a grown-up right now, would you?
  11. Why did Barbarossa choose to go with Prosper and Bo's aunt?
  12. Who are you most like in the book and why?

If you like this book, try

  • From The Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • Lightland by Heather McCutchen
  • Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • Daughter of Venice by Donna Jo Napoli


Italian pastries, ravioli and ice cream

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.