Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, John Grisham's first book for middle-grade readers—and book one in a planned series—will no doubt have wide appeal. Precocious tween bookworms will admire Theodore Boone, a 13-year-old wannabe lawyer, and reluctant readers will keep flipping the pages due to an action-packed plot.

The only child of two busy attorneys, Theo’s passion in life is the law. He hangs out at the courthouse in his small city, and he knows every lawyer, judge, court clerk and cop in town. In a closet-sized office, he gives legal advice to classmates when their parents are filing for divorce or their pets are charged with violating the leash law. When a big murder case goes to trial, Theo organizes a field trip for his government class to observe the first day’s proceedings.

Though Theo longs to be either a “famous trial lawyer” or a “great judge,” he knows he’s in over his head when he finds out about a mysterious eyewitness to the murder. No one else is aware of the witness’ existence, and it’s up to Theo to convince him to come forward and tell the judge what he knows. Otherwise, a guilty murderer will walk free.
 
Young readers will be intrigued by the showdown of the trial, and as Grisham explains the role of a jury, a district attorney and a bailiff, they’ll learn about some of the players in our justice system. But don’t expect a neat ending: Grisham leaves readers hanging before the lawyers make their closing arguments at the murder trial, setting the stage for Theo’s next adventure.

 

 

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