As I wrote yesterday, I know can you believe it two posts in a row; there were many wonderful books on the middle grade Cybil’s list. One of my favorites was The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter. It was the last one I read. I had to wait a REALLY long time for it to come from the library and the copy I ordered from The Bookies won’t be here until next week. It is so good that I am glad I will have a copy for my classroom. Accessibility to kids was in the front of my mind when I read books for Cybil’s. It may be a beautifully written book, but will the average kid pick it up t o read. The answer with The Kneebone Boy is YES, YES, YES. Note to the publisher don’t change the cover when you release it in paperback. You can’t always judge a book by the cover, but in this case the delightful cover sets the stage for a wonderful read.
The story revolves around the three Hardscrabbles siblings. Otto us the eldest that hasn’t spoken for years, but uses a sign language that he created. Lucia, pronounced Lu CHia not Lucy a, and the youngest brother Max. They live in a small town in England called Little Trunks. From the beginning the reader does not know who the narrator is because the siblings they want to make sure that the story belongs to all three of them. I think it is Max. Anyhow, as you can tell by the cover they aren’t your average 21st century kids. Their father is an artist that leaves for periods of times to paint portraits of dethroned royalty. Many years ago their mother disappeared. The children have no idea what happened. This sets the stage for the adventure to find out what really happened to their mother.
During their quixotic quest they learn about survival, their great aunt and that their siblings are important. Their journey is what I enjoyed most about this book. It is fun to follow these quirky kids. The longer I read the book the more I cared about them. It is so odd (but not weird odd) that I think boys will love reading it. I have many boys like Max and Otto. Know you may ask why is it called The Kneebone Boy. I will not add a spoiler to this post. In other words you have to read it to find out.
I’ve heard and read that there is Newbury buzz about The Kneebone Boy. Often the winner is not so kid friendly. In this case it is very kid friendly. Regardless of whether it ends up with a gold sticker on the cover it is a winner for the reader. Thank you Ellen Potter.