The Kneebone Boy Book Review

The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter The Kneebone Boy - Ellen Potter

Otto, Lucia, and Max Hardscrabble have written a book, or at least one of them has, but we will never know which one. They live with their father, an artist who paints portraits of defunct royal families. When the children are sent away to London to stay with a cousin, said cousin turns out to be on Holiday. So the siblings venture to a small village where their Aunt is currently living in a miniature castle and harbors some very deep secrets, ones that she may just want the children to discover if they are up to the task.

In the vein of "The Series of Unfortunate Events" and "Coraline", Kneebone Boy manages to feel haunting and dark, yet stays grounded in reality. Often, the book felt like it was heading in the direction of the supernatural with whispers of a mysterious boy locked in away within a castle, rat filled dungeons, and one very grumpy taxidermist. The writer, whichever Hardscrabble it may be, takes great cares though to inform the reader that under no circumstances is this book to be considered a fantasy. Although the author does promise one ghost, although even that has a logical explanation.

With all the running around and breaking into castles and lost princes in the forest, I couldn't help but think the end was a little anti-climactic and enormously sad. Then I must remind myself that a children's book does not need to have a perfect happy ending, just one of hope. And there is hope for the children. Hope that their lives can become more normal, well as normal as they are at least, now that they have learned the truth.

I loved the style in which Potter wrote the story, with three very interesting and unique characters. It was funny and engaging, just don't expect the end to be all tied up in a bow.

One last thing...I love the cover art by Jason Chan. Really engaging and captures the characters perfectly, right down to the scarf Otto is wearing.


France said...

She's also still stuck in the thinking that Max is just little. Too little to be of help, too little to be a friend the way that Lucia and Otto are friends, too little to make decisions for the group. Through their adventure, each of the Hardscrabble children gets more of a will of their own, and instead of making them grow up and grow apart, they realize that they not only need each other but truly like each other as well.

Danmark said...

Absolutely Brilliant Little Book
"The Kneebone Boy" has gotten all sorts of **starred** praise and it well deserves it in my opinion. It's a book that manages to be whimsical and magical, and yet realistic and emotionally moving as well. It's one of my favorite books for the year.