Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Secret History of Tom Trueheart” as Want to Read:
The Secret History of Tom Trueheart
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Secret History of Tom Trueheart (Tom Trueheart #1)

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  392 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
Will Tom ever have a story of his own?

Tom Trueheart's six older brothers are famous. They go on exciting quests in the Land of Stories to complete tales the Story Bureau assigns them. Tom stays at home with his mother. But when his brothers fail to return from their latest adventures in time for Tom's twelfth birthday, a letter from the Story Bureau arrives . . . addressed
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 22nd 2008 by Greenwillow Books (first published January 1st 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Secret History of Tom Trueheart, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Secret History of Tom Trueheart

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 751)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 14, 2009 Lschulzy rated it it was amazing
This is a truely amzing book that gives a spin on classic fairy tales in a very unexpected way! The story breates new life to old dusty fairy tales by giving Tom's brothers jobs or roles to play in each story. Each boy whose nmaes are all Jack, recieve a letter from The Story Bereau and is then wisked away to be a prince or maybe a lowly peasent. All the boys except Tom are sent on missions, but promise to be back for Tom's birthday. When Tom's birthday arrives none of his brothers are home, so ...more
Dec 20, 2014 Aelvana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tom Trueheart has a whole family of adventurers. Six brothers, in fact. And they all go off and have the most wonderful adventures. Tom stays home. He's the youngest. He'd never admit it, but he's also frightened of a lot of the stories they tell, and sure he'll never go on the same kinds of adventures. But when his brothers go missing, Tom is sent to find them. It's an adventure of his own---but what can he do that six older, stronger brothers couldn't?

This book is far more amusing in the conte
KidsFiction Teton County Library

Chris’s Rating: 3 Stars
Tom Trueheart is the youngest of seven brothers (all some variation of Jack). While his older brothers are brave and adventurous (and often called on by the Story Bureau to participate in partially fabricated and lightly directed adventures in the Land of Stories), Tom is not outgoing and tends to think too much about things. Then one day Tom receives word from the Story Bureau that his brothers (who have not finished their adventures) have gone m
Catherine  Mustread
Aug 18, 2010 Catherine Mustread rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catherine by: Peoria Library
Action, suspense, adventure, and familiar characters come to life in the Land of Stories – home to the Trueheart family and all other fairy tale characters. Twelve-year-old Tom is a sympathetic character as he sets out to rescue his older brothers despite his lack of bravery. The Story Bureau is responsible for assigning characters and starting the stories but then the rest is up to the characters, especially the Truehearts who are famous for the toughest, scariest, and most romantic and excitin ...more
May 20, 2013 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Young Tom comes from a line of storybook heroes. And by that I mean the actual heroes of such stories as "Jack the Giant Killer" and "The Frog Prince." Whether a clever tailor or a charming prince, the hero in each of your favorite fairy tales was most likely a member of the Trueheart clan, acting on instructions from the staff at the Story Bureau, and with a little help from sprites who carry messages and throw in a little magic now and then.

Here's how it works: Either Tom's father Jack (missin
Jun 22, 2014 Veronica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Villains who don't like villains.
I didn't like this book at all. I don't want to bash this author because it was their first book. I've heard lots of parents liked reading this to their younger children, and that's great. But this is actually geared in the middle grade section for people 10-12. And this book doesn't belong in that age range.
This book is not aimed at anyone. For young children it's too complicated. Once your older it's too simplistic.
The story was not very original at all, with fairytale stories we all know. Bu
Libby Ames
As a family, we listened to The Secret History of Tom Trueheart on a long road trip. Usually we need breaks from our audio books, but this story entertained all ages from four to thirty-seven so well that we listened to the last four hours straight through. It is a good family book, either for listening or reading out loud.(We listened to the recording by John Curless. Apparently there is another audio book out there).

Tom’s six older brothers are all adventurers in the Land of Stories. They go o
Oct 09, 2007 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 4th grade and up
What a great story. For those who like fantasy and fairytales and adventure stories. Grade 4–7—This well-known British illustrator's first novel is a charming twist on fairy tales. The Trueheart clan lives near the Land of Stories, once upon a time, long ago. Tom is the youngest of seven boys, and his brothers (all named Jack) have carried on the family tradition of being adventurers-that is, stepping into a story and carrying out the dashing exploits that eventually become legend. On Tom's 12th ...more
This book was okay I guess. It didn't really have anything special going for it, but it would have been a nice enough children's book if the author had included at least one female character who had some personality. There was Tom's mother (who only existed to take care of her sons), Tom's story mother (who again only existed to be a mother), and the princesses who get rescued by Tom's brothers. If Tom and Jollity the crow had been female I'd be giving this book 4 stars and recommending it to ev ...more
My husband is reading this to the boys as their bedtime story. So far they're all enjoying it. I need to sneak the copy out of their room so I can read it during the day.

Updated -
I read this book and really liked it. It was cute and funny and clever and suspenseful and around every turn you met a new fairy tale character. I enjoyed how Tom went from doubting himself to being a true hero - and even heroes are scared sometimes.

The boys in my family just finished reading it with their day. I asked
Tom Trueheart is the baby of the family. His six older brothers are exactly like their father--true adventurers whose job it is to find endings for the stories that the Story Bureau assigns them. Tom, however, is not an adeventurer. He stays and home with his mother and dreams of one day following in his family's footsteps. But then all of his brothers fail to return from their adventures and the Story Bureau knows something is very, very wrong. With only one Trueheart left, it is up to Tom to g ...more
Aug 05, 2015 Genevieve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
I give this 3-4 stars. I liked it enough that I wanted to read the 2nd book. I didn't care for the second book as much, but it had the irritating quality of leaving me hanging and wanting to read the 3rd book to see how it all wraps up. This is a fun series that mixes up all kinds of fairy tales and apparently mythology in the third book. The writing quality was okay, nothing magical.
Lisa Rathbun
Aug 11, 2011 Lisa Rathbun rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Although I read a lot of kids' books and love fairy tales, I didn't like this one. It felt boring and contrived. Perhaps children might like it, but it is VERY long for them and way too simplistic for older readers. Even the idea was confusing to me: what do all those characters do when they're not acting in a story? And if they're just acting, why do the girls fall in love with the princes? If they're just acting, is there any true peril? I just didn't buy it. I liked the family name - Truehear ...more
Dec 16, 2009 Barb rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Inane Drivel...But Lovely Woodcut Illustrations

I just finished reading this with my almost eight year old daughter. I thought it was a lame serving of leftover fairytales thrown into a lousy soup of a pointless story. It started out with what seemed like a clever idea and went absolutely nowhere from there. The pacing was limp, the stories are predictable with all the traditional endings and the original portions are sprinkled throughout very inconsistently.

The writing is mediocre at best. I wa
This was OK. 2 1/3 stars. I thought it was going to be better. It's about a family of boys who live fairy tale adventures so that the stories can be written down for the world to enjoy and how the youngest has to bail them all out of trouble.

There are some very clever details, but the book seemed a little slow to me and the main antagonist was not very imposing or believable. The funny little takes and cameos from a dozen different fairy tales were the enjoyable parts.

This would be fun to read t
Fun book to listen to on a family road trip - my boys repeatedly asked me to pause the story so they could make predictions about how matters might resolve. There was just enough of a twist on familiar tales that allowed for a combination of anticipation and insight.
Jun 18, 2009 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was fantastic. All of my kids (really all 5 of us) were enthralled. It is about a boy named Tom. He is the youngest brother in a family of adventurers. All of his other brothers are named some form of Jack.....these brothers go on adventures...jack and the beanstalk....the frog prince....there job is to go into Storybook Land and finish the story that has been started for them. All of the brothers go off on their adventures.....but a man in the story office is upset that he doesn't get ...more
My children and I listened to the audio book of Tom Trueheart #1 by Ian Beck, brilliantly dramatized by Clive Mantle. Character voices, charming accents, etc.

This story takes place in a story land where Tom's six older brothers (all named some version of Jack) go off adventuring with familiar fairy tale characters to live, then tell the stories which are so well-known to us.
When the older brothers do not return in time for Tom's 12th birthday, Tom is contacted by the Story Bureau to begin a resc
Jul 14, 2008 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
I liked this book, it's a new twist on the fractured fairy tale, and similar to Michael Buckley's Fairy Tale Detectives. It's the story of Tom Truehart, who is the youngest brother in an adventuring family. All his older brothers go on adventure missions for the Story Bureau and come home and report on their travels. This is how stories like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, etc. came to be. But someone has kidnapped and stopped the stories his brothers are trying to complete. And only 12 year old To ...more
James Clare
It's definitely a kids book, but it's a nice twist on a FEW classics, because of the way it ends I wonder if there is a sequel...?
Hilary Tesh
Sep 03, 2015 Hilary Tesh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great fun to read - littered with fairy tale allusions and beautifully illustrated by the author himself.
a boy's adventures through all the fairy tales, youngest brother saves his older brothers
Kenzie McIntyre
Mar 16, 2015 Kenzie McIntyre rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Childhood favorite<3 Sweet story, and really imaginative! It's a great book :)
Aug 19, 2013 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-kids-loved-it
Although twisted fairy tales are a rather tired genre at this point, this book still stands out as having an original and fun take on these old classic stories. The Land of Stories is a stage for adventurers who enter with the beginning of a script but then must finish the story on their own - a bit like reality TV but for storytellers - until a writer gets tired of letting the heroes have all the glory. Most of the fun of it all comes from the fact that we already know how these stories are sup ...more
Susan Reyna
Aug 11, 2015 Susan Reyna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun kid story. Moves along quickly with plenty of action.
Sep 11, 2013 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s, fantasy, y-a
My children would have adored this as a read aloud book when they were young, and would likely have liked to read it themselves. Perfect for the 8 to 10 year old crowd, but not to be limited to them. I loved the engaging 7th son, and the twists on standard fairy tales. Neatly written, and now, drat, where are the second and third books in this series?? (yes, I realize I could buy them online, but I want them to manifest on my desk right now, please).
Of special note are the lovely black and white
Bill Prosser
Dec 09, 2007 Bill Prosser rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting take on fairy tales. All of them are written by a central agency that sends adventurers into "The Land of Stories" to bring the stories to life. The adventurers then come back and tell what happened to them, thus creating a fairy tale. When an evil story writer tries to mess things up by not allowing the adventurers to finish the stories, Tom Trueheart must rescue all of his brothers named Jack. I liked it, but I'm not sure it moves quick enough for kids to really enjoy it.
My daughter Emily loved this book (and the follow up sequel), and eagerly asked me to read it. I picked it up, and found it boring. She insisted, so I plodded on until the end. And still found it boring.

The book takes such a creative concept - the lives of adventurers behind all the "fairy tale stories" that are following scripts from the Story Bureau - and completely makes it a chore in its structure and pacing. zzazz.

It saddens me that I didn't love it as much as she did!
Hanna H
Nov 17, 2013 Hanna H rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once upon a time there was a story about how fairy tales came to be. In an actioned pack thriller filled with romance, monsters, a villain and tons of fantasy. You will fall in love with the plot. Anyway my favorite character was Tom, because he was confident and clever. I Just checked out the sequel from the library and I cannot wait to read it. I really hope whoever reads this will like it. This book will NOT let you down! I promise it includes what said it would!
The Styling Librarian
I listened to this book as an audiobook- great performance by John Curless - it took a little while to "get into" the story, but once we were in, we were hooked. Loved the adventure and connection to fairy tales. I think that if I was reading vs. listening, I might have skimmed some fairy tale wrap-ups, but enjoyed the audio so much, it didn't matter. My son loved this book as well and we're both planning to read the next book when we have time!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 25 26 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Thumbelina
  • Wild Magic
  • 涼宮ハルヒの驚愕 (後) (Haruhi Suzumiya, #11)
  • The Field of Wacky Inventions (Floors #3)
  • Spice & Wolf, Vol. 7: Side Colors
  • The Magician's Tower (Oona Crate Mystery, #2)
  • Gustav Gloom and the People Taker (Gustav Gloom, #1)
  • Out of the Wild (Into the Wild, #2)
  • The Mask of Destiny (Billionaire, #3)
  • The Darkest Dream (W.I.T.C.H. Chapter Books, #17)
  • Penumbras (Middle School Magic, #2)
  • The Last Tear (W.I.T.C.H. Chapter Books, #5)
  • The Rose Cottage Tales (Tumtum and Nutmeg #4-6)
  • Also Known as Elvis (The Misfits, #4)
  • The Prince of the Pond: Otherwise Known as De Fawg Pin
Ian Archibald Beck (born 1947 in Brighton) is an English children's illustrator and author. In addition to his numerous children's books, he is also most famous for his cover illustration on Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album. He has sold more than a million copies of his books worldwide.
More about Ian Beck...

Other Books in the Series

Tom Trueheart (3 books)
  • Tom Trueheart and the Land of Dark Stories
  • Tom Trueheart and the Land of Myths and Legends

Share This Book