Daily Archives: September 22, 2010

The Kneebone Boy

I’ll read anything Ellen Potter writes. For lots of reasons. First, I think she’s truly creative. She finds a way to take her stories in unexpected, fresh and bold directions. Second, she writes books that have a lovely blend of humor and heart, light and dark. Third, she pays attention to language. Her description is right on, never heavy or overdone. I could keep going, but for the sake of getting to her latest book, let’s just say, if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading any of Potter’s books, you’ve got some good reading ahead of you.

The first thing about The Kneebone Boy that I loved is the cover. One word? Awesome. Two words? Kid appeal. Three words? Artist Jason Chan. If that artwork doesn’t get kids scrambling over each other to pull the book from the library shelf, I don’t know what would. Just wait until they start reading, because the voice is immediately captivating.

It’s the story of the Hardscrabble siblings: Otto, Lucia and Max. They are kind of weird, to be honest, or perhaps it’s just that they are misunderstood. Anyway, not much happens in their town so they are pretty excited when their father sends them off to London to stay with their aunt. Things go way beyond exciting when it turns out their aunt is away on holiday, which means the kids begin a Proper Adventure. They end up in a seaside town where there may be a strange creature who is half boy half animal. But that’s not all that is strange in Snoring-by-the-Sea. It turns out that the village holds the key to their own family secret.

The novel is narrated by one of the Hardscrabbles, but you don’t know which one. I think Lucia. I loved the voice – a little sarcastic, funny and bright. All of the Hardscrabble children come through as complex, appealing and wonderfully quirky, but also very much as realistic children. You’ll enjoy every moment of this tale, guaranteed. The book is about imperfect families, secrets, the way to the truth, stories and how to have an adventure.

I was over at Ellen’s blog the other day where she shares the initial inspiration for Otto, aka the boy in the scarf. Check it out.

The Kneebone Boy is cheeky, heartwarming, clever, sharp, dark, and funny. You know you’re reading an Ellen Potter book when all of that comes together in a single, utterly creative and happy-making package.

The Kneebone Boy is published by Feiwel and Friends.