(My daughter and I independently read a marvelous book by Tracy Trivas titled, “The Wish Stealers.” To assist my daughter with the review of what she had read I took some notes. While it’s usually easy to find reviews of children’s books, it’s more challenging to find complete summaries. I know. I’ve searched for them. This summary has received little editing but it’s reasonably accurate and may help others who are looking to review what’s happened in a book. This summary is not meant to replace the reading. So read the book first. It’s a good one, which will be enjoyed by young and older alike.)
The Wish Stealers
Griffin Penshine – 6th grader; Griffin’s mom is an astronomer and pregnant. Her turtle is Charlemagne.
Mr. Schmidt Collectibles Shop; his great aunt, Mariah. She gave Griffin Indian-head penny and box of polishing cloths. Under velvet in box were 10 more pennies with people’s wishes. Mariah took pennies from fountain and stole coins and people’s wishes. Three rules to wish stealing: 1) Stealer’s good wishes won’t come true. 2) Stealer’s evil wishes will come true. 3) Stealer will be cursed for life if she tells anyone about curse and those she tells will never have wishes come true.
Griffin’s good wishes weren’t coming true. Back molars would have to be pulled. School didn’t smell like chocolate chip cookies.
Libby is BFF. She wanted to be an artist. Griffin wanted to be a rocket scientist.
Mariah left her a gold key at the office. Griffin went to Mr. Schmidt’s house and tried to return box. Learned that Mariah had died.
Samantha was pretty blonde student who wasn’t very nice. Was chosen to welcome kids to school and went on stage with toilet paper dragging from shoe.
Mrs. Gideon is English teacher. Teaching the play, Macbeth. Three actors dressed as witches. One gave Griffin the spell book with instructions how to steal and return wishes.
Samantha put toilet paper in Griffin’s locker. Handsome boy, Garrett Forrester walked by and noticed photo of Griffin playing bass guitar. Said it was awesome. Griffin blushed.
Griffin wanted to return wishes to people “on same journey.” Nine minutes for rocket to reach outer space. Mr. Luckner (science teacher) gave class no homework after picking up penny. Assigned science project. Garrett was Griffin’s partner.
Griffin went to bakery with dad. She met girl (Kristina) who wanted to be ballerina. Saw Samantha and friends in bakery and wished she looked like a queen lizard with warts.
Griffin gave Kristina penny with “most beautiful” wish. Penny dropped down water fountain. Samantha said Griffin was trying to buy friends. Samantha passed out cookie invitations to her party.
Dentist called and said he didn’t have to pull Griffin’s molars. Garrett suggested they blow something up for science project. Griffin wanted to do project on environment. Libby told Griffin that Samantha didn’t win “fresh face” contest because she broke out in a rash.
Griffin met Garrett as library. Books about alchemy (turning metals into gold). Maybe experiment could turn penny into gold. Mrs. Eve, the librarian, let Griffin and Garrett look at old books in library basement. Four metals – lead, tin, silver and copper – into gold. Read about magic mirror to see future. Griffin saw mirror like it in Mr. Schmidt’s shop.
Griffin told street violinist his music was beautiful. Garrett’s mom works late and his dad is fisherman in Alaska. Griffin’s mom took her and Garrett to dinner at Friendly’s. Garrett ordered a double-decker and Reese’s Pieces Sundae. They saw the witches there. Hurlyburly means “everything upside down, lots of confusion.”
Pennies for the Planet project. Kids collecting pennies to help save rainforest. Maybe could help science project.
Griffin’s grandmother to give art lessons to Griffin and Libby. They met Samantha at the art store and she bought all the paints for her birthday sign. Last tube squeezed on Griffin’s sneaker. Griffin wishes Samantha’s party would be a “total bomb.” Grandma told Griffin not to stoop to Samantha’s level. Griffin’s eyes were yellowish. Grandma said wishes are like snowflakes, powerful but fragile. Grandma grasped for breath.
Griffin worried about Grandma and coughing attack. She slipped “change the world” penny into her loafer. Paintball cartridges exploded at Samantha’s party. Garrett was dragged to party. Griffin and Garrett asked Mr. Blackwell for approval of science project. He wasn’t impressed. Griffin showed Mr. Blackwell “change the world” penny. He asked if they were numismatists. Mr. Reasoner saw shiny penny and said it was probably worth $150. Dropped in janitor’s bucket. Mr. Blackwell approved project and said, “Let the band play.” Garrett wanted to change band’s name from “Five Cool Guys” to Alchemists. Garrett talked about rock concert “for the planet. Mr. Reasoner gave Griffin box for penny. Freckled-face redhead eavesdropped on conversation between Mr. Reasoner and Griffin.
Garrett read about alchemists turning lead into gold. Griffin tried to give Garrett penny that said, “dad.” He didn’t want it.
Griffin texted Garrett to apologize about penny. He wasn’t mad. Mr. Schmidt gave Griffin box that Mariah had left. It was labeled Mariah W.S. (wish stealer?). Lock was opened using golden key that Mariah had given her. Box contained Topeka Inn guest book register, red garnet ring, skein of old gray yarn and the black obsidian disc (mirror) to see into future.
Guest register had names with wishes written next to them. Next to Florence L. Daniellson was “puppy.” Griffin’s mom had mini-observatory on the roof. She said she would name baby Caelum or Caela after a constellation (means “the heavens” or an old instrument for engraving on copper). Griffin gave her mom the “baby” penny and she made a wish. Griffin put penny in box on high shelf in nursery.
Garrett’s band practiced in his garage. Griffin brought video of herself playing bass guitar but didn’t bring guitar. Garrett thought Griffin didn’t like his band. Another band member, Jason, said they would play for free at the science fair. Garrett’s mom said she couldn’t afford to send him to the music center for lessons.
A wish stealer is someone who makes people afraid to try. Griffin’s mom will forward email to Garrett’s mom about reduced rates at music center for really good students. Griffin listened closely to her mom’s suggestion that there are always a couple of ways to solve a problem.
Griffin Googled Florence Daniellson and Garrett’s dad. She learned Florence’s husband just died and that a story about Garrett’s dad catching a big fish just appeared in the Nome, Alaska, newspaper. She wrote to the funeral home and to the newspaper to contact both people. She wanted Florence to write back if she made the puppy wish. She wanted to tell Garrett’s dad something. Earlier she had learned that Garrett wanted a dog.
Griffin gave the street violinist the penny marked, “success.” He wished to be successful doing what he loved, playing the violin. He threw the penny in the air and it dazzled among the sprinklers. Griffin examined the ring, yarn and disc from the box again and found them creepy. She wondered if she would be a wish stealer like Mariah.
Samantha had invited Libby to her party but Libby told Griffin she wasn’t going. Some of the kids were angry at Griffin because Mr. Luckner used her “no homework” idea and had given them a month-long poster project. Griffin did her project on Marie Curie who discovered radium. Curie never gave up even when people thought she was crazy. Mr. Luckner liked the poster and Griffin’s face turned as red as her hair and the cardboard Mars whirling over her head.
Griffin found a “not invited” sticker on her locker. Kristina was angry at Griffin because her wishes didn’t come true. Griffin hoped Libby was still her BFF and was a little sad.
Griffin met Aurora, harp player, at her music lesson. Griffin wasn’t doing well on her guitar and Mr. Castanara told her to practice. Jason was angry at Griffin because he thought she said their bank stunk. Griffin went home and her mom gave her soup. They looked at constellation Draco (dragon). She dreamt of dragons with faces of kids at school.
Griffin went to school and saw posters about band playing at Science Night. Garrett apologized to Griffin. Libby told Griffin she was invited to her sleepover on Saturday night. Samantha asked Griffin if Garrett was her boyfriend and made fun of their collecting pennies for the earth. Garrett asked Samantha and her friends why they were so nasty.
Griffin went to crowded library and gave her classmates some suggestions for science project topics. Griffin looked for Stanley (violin player) outside library but he wasn’t there. Samantha asked if Stanley was Griffin’s other boyfriend. Kristina apologized to Griffin and said she was taking ballet lessons. Griffin’s mom invited Garrett and his mom over for turkey dinner to celebrate Garrett’s getting music lessons (drum) for free.
Griffin and Garrett broke wishbone and Garrett got bigger half and made a wish. Griffin’s mom gave the kids a tour of her observatory. Learned about Perseus and Andromeda.
Griffin and Libby went to Griffin’s grandma’s house for art lesson. Three witches came to the front door. Grandma said her favorite quote from Hamlet was “Angels and ministers of grace defend us.” This made the sun burst through the clouds and the witches shielded their eyes and left. Grandma spoke about artist, Giorgione, from the 1400s. He painted clouds. Grandma asked for her shawl and the weather started getting worse. Griffin had made questions, including “why did her grandma have the same yarn as Mariah and why did the three witches come to her grandma’s house?”
Samantha put fake note from Garrett in Griffin’s locker. Griffin got letter from Mrs. Daniellson, who did make a wish for a puppy. She wanted Griffin to contact her. Griffin asked her mom if she could get a puppy for a friend.
Griffin got a FedEx package at her grandma’s. It was from Garrett’s dad who asked Griffin to FedEx him back and enclosed an envelope. Griffin asked her Grandma about helping people too much and her grandma told her about not helping a butterfly escape from a cocoon. It made butterfly stronger.
Griffin wrote Garrett’s dad and said that she gave Garrett a lucky penny. She mailed it at the school office (FedEx box). Griffin told Mrs. Davis that her grandma was writing to Garrett’s dad.
Garrett found out that Griffin wrote to his dad and was furious. He said he didn’t want to be Griffin’s science partner. Samantha and her friends made fun of them and said they were having a fight. Griffin ended up being tardy for class and had to go to detention.
Garrett’s mom told story about letter to Griffin’s mom. Her mom and dad wanted to talk to her. Her parents wanted to know what was going on so Griffin hesitatingly told her about Mariah and the box. He parents understood Griffin’s intentions were good but she shouldn’t have invaded others’ privacy. Griffin’s mom saw Mrs. Daniellson’s name in guest book and guessed that’s what the puppy stuff was all about. Griffin’s parents suggested she apologize and give Garrett time to calm down. They also suggested she sell the ring, which was very valuable, and use funds for Pennies for the Planet.
Griffin took the “popular” penny to school. Samantha and her friends made fun of the “popular” penny. It burned in Griffin’s hand. Samantha dumped water on the penny and sarcastically wished that Griffin become super-popular. The penny flew through the air and landed in the water jug and the container lit up from within.
Science night at the school. Samantha’s project promoted her dad’s dermatology business although her face still had warts. Her mom was there and seemed nastier than Samantha. Audrey had project about birds on Galapagos Islands. Griffin’s mom helped her set up her project. Had a moat of pennies surrounding a jar with the ring, which they sold for $1,100. Garrett’s mom was there and said his dad would be coming to the science fair. Griffin met Garrett’s dad and he thanked her for writing.
Jason told Griffin that Kurt, the bass player, was sick and asked if she could take his place. She agreed if Garrett would help with her science project … deal! All the band member had their faces painted half in gold. The band played well.
Mr. Reasoner introduced the silent boy from the back of the metal shop, Alfred Coombs. He had been collecting pennies since he was five. He donated two full containers of pennies worth $350 to Pennies for the Planet. The Alchemists played one more song … Celebration.
School smelled like chocolate chip cookies the next day. Griffin and Garrett didn’t win the science prize but collected a total of more than $5,000 for Pennies for the Planet, including a anonymous donation of $250 from Nome, Alaska. The newspaper and TV stations were going to do stories. Griffin received a thank-you note from Garrett who said his dad was really cool.
Griffin’s mom arranged for Garrett’s dad to take the two kids to the Humane Society and pick out a two puppies, one for Garrett and one for Mrs. Daniellson. The picked two from a litter. Garrett said he would name his dog Nick (after Nicolas Flamel) or maybe Zosimos.
Garrett’s dad drove the kids and other puppy to Mrs. Daniellson’s rest home. Director Regan welcomed them and the two kids met Mrs. Daniellson in her room. Griffin told her about being given her puppy penny by Mariah. Then Garrett’s dad walked in with puppy. She cried and named the puppy, Penny.
Griffin arrived home to a locked house. She checked her cell phone and had voicemail from her dad that the baby was coming and that he was taking mom to the hospital. He told her to go to Mrs. Jasper’s house next door. Mrs. Jasper told Griffin her grandma was also in the hospital. Griffin worried about the three pennies she still had; “STOP,” “world peace” and the unlabeled one.
Dad called and told Griffin she had baby brother, Caelum. He was almost born in the car. Dad told Griffin grandma wasn’t doing well. She fell and hit her head. Griffin couldn’t stop crying.
Griffin visited mom in hospital and met Caelum. Mom and Caelum would be there two days. Then dad and Griffin went to visit Grandma. Grandma was in intensive care with lots of wires and tubes attached. Grandma told Griffin to find a box on her bureau dresser and look inside it. Grandma said it was almost time to be with grandpa and that all her wishes have already come true. She told Griffin about her dream with two white doves.
Griffin’s mom put baby penny in silver cup. Griffin went to Grandma’s house with her dad and opened box. It contained a penny, yarn, a blue ring and a flat white stone. Grandma’s health had improved and they moved her to the riverside of the hospital (Riviera). Grandma told Griffin about the time she met Mariah. She was young with red hair and saw her stealing coins from the fountain at the Inn in Topeka. Grandma asked her dad for three coins and wished “STOP” so Mariah would stop stealing wishes. Her second wish was for all lost wishes to be returned. Grandma kept the third penny and decided to make her own luck in life. That was the penny in her box.
Grandma took the STOP and unlabeled pennies and tossed them into the river and made the same exact wishes. Grandma said the ring was given to her by Griffin’s grandpa and the stone was part of a red/blue stone combination that a jeweler had separated. Grandma gave the ring to Griffin. Grandma said a carnival man sold her the yarn and it was supposed to give you a long life. Griffin was going to put the polished stone in Charlemagne’s terrarium for a throne. Grandma was going to take the broken pieces of the black mirror and mix it with the potting mixture for her orchids. Grandma had wished for a long, healthy life full of love with her last penny.
Celebration of pennies for the planet had people eating organic popcorn and licking raspberry clouds of cotton candy. Wristbands were handed out (even to Samantha and her friends). Mrs. Gideon wore a Chinese skirt with good luck symbols and gave Griffin a copy of one of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Stanley had met Aurora and they were now playing music together. His wish had been granted. The bank matched the money collected for a total of $10,000. Alfred, Garrett and Griffin spoke at the ceremony. Griffin tossed the “world peace” penny into the town fountain and everyone in the crowd wished for world peace.