Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer Audio

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer Audio

John Grisham
For ages 8 to 12
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: Richard Thomas
Penguin Audio, 2010   ISBN: 978-0142428696

Both of Theodore Boone’s parents are lawyers, and one would think having two lawyers in the family (plus Uncle Ike, who is also a lawyer) would make Theo fed up with everything that has to do with the law. For some reason this is not the case. In fact, Theo is fascinated by every aspect of the law. When his eighth grade classmates are playing baseball and hanging out, Theo is at his parent’s office soaking up information about the law, or hobnobbing with judges and clerks at the courthouse. As far as Theo is concerned, becoming a lawyer is the only goal worth having.

When the trial of a man accused of murdering his wife begins, Theo is eager to observe what it going on. His instincts tell him that the man, Mr. Duffy, is guilty, but even he has to admit that the evidence is thin and circumstantial. Theo cannot see how the prosecution can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Mr. Duffy did indeed kill his wife. He certainly seemed to have a motive (a million dollars in life insurance money), and he could be said to have opportunity, but no one saw him at his home (the scene of the crime) at the right time, and there is no evidence that he was there when his wife was killed.

Then a boy from San Salvador who Theo knows from school asks to speak to Theo. Everyone knows that Theo is a wiz when it comes to the law, and Julio wants Theo’s advice. Apparently Julio’s cousin, who is an illegal, saw Mr. Duffy going into his house at the time of the murder. He saw Mr. Duffy put on some gloves, which he later threw away in a garbage can. In short, it would appear that there was a witness who can place Mr. Duffy at his home when his wife was killed. The problem is that the witness does not want to come forward because he doesn’t want to be deported. Julio swears Theo to secrecy, but Theo knows that the secret is one he cannot keep. Somehow he has to convince the witness to come forward on his own, otherwise a guilty man could walk free.

John Grisham is famous for writing very successful adult thrillers, and now he has created a thoroughly enjoyable novel for a younger audience. Children who have a fondness for mysteries will find this audio book intriguing. The story is not fast paced with a lot of action and drama, but it is gripping all the same. There is a suggestion of danger that lies just beneath the surface, and listeners will be eager to find out how Theo solves the problem that he is presented with.

Richard Thomas’ performance of this audio title brings another dimension to John Grisham’s story. The actor’s narrative gives Theodore’s character added depth and interest.