Friday, January 21, 2011

The Kneebone Boy

The Kneebone Boy
by Ellen Potter
Feiwel & Friends, 2010. 288 pages. Fiction.

This book has a great title, a great cover, and is a very engaging read. It tells the story of Otto, Lucia and Max Hardscrabble through the eyes of one of them, though we never find out which. They live in Little Tunks, England with their somewhat odd father, Casper. Their mother disappeared under suspicious circumstances five years earlier, and ever since then the people of Little Tunks have avoided the children. The narrator does admit that the children are an odd bunch. Otto, the oldest at 13, doesn't speak, but communicates in a type of sign language that only Lucia and Max can understand. In addition, Otto has worn the same scarf around his neck since his mother's disappearance which he refuses to ever take off, even to sleep.

When the three children find a letter that indicates their mother might be alive, they head off to London, and then to Kneebone Castle in Snoring by the Sea. There they have to use their wits and courage to solve the mystery of their mother. Even though it doesn't end the way one would hope, there is closure. The narrator is honest and funny, and deals with the issue of family secrets and difficulties in a sympathetic and readable way.

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