So, before I go on and on about how much I enjoyed Ellen Potter's latest book, let me first share a bit about my love for Lemony Snicket (trust me, there's a point). When I first started in on this love of children's lit while going to library school and attempting to decide what to do with my life, I began reading Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events." The level of sarcasm, wit, and clever dialogue sort of knocked me out of my seat (these were books for kids after all)...and then I realized how BRILLIANT they were. Draw kids in with a little craziness and get them hooked into this 12 book series. Genius. But then the series ended and I was itching for more of the Snicket-esque writing.
And now folks, I believe we may just have a new Lemony Snicket on our hands in Ellen Potter.
The Kneebone Boy introduces us to a set of siblings, Otto, Lucia, and Max, though we're told in the beginning that we won't know which sibling is actually narrating the story. Their father, a scatterbrained artist who paints portraits of royalty, ships them off to London to stay with an Aunt that happens to be away on holiday. What ensues is an adventure around the dark streets of London on their own and a journey to the sea, where the kids attempt to solve the mystery of their missing mother.
The journey these kids are on is at times hysterical, sometimes melancholy, and more than a bit creepy, which makes the read all the more fun. Potter delivers fabulous one-liners and a pretty hilarious banter between the siblings...all siblings must argue, but these kids do it in style. I laughed out loud on almost every page, but was able to feel sadness for these motherless children as well, which I think shows the talent the author possesses. My favorite part in the book? "Here is my most important message to you: All great adventures have moments that are really crap." (248)
On a more critical note, I was a little disappointed that the ended wrapped up so neatly, rather than being extended into a series or even just a witty, comical completion. And I did feel that it was a bit wordy in places, making the overall book a bit longer than it probably needed to be, but other than that, I was very pleased with what I was reading. Ooh and what a creepy (and wonderful cover)!
Hand this to fans of Lemony Snicket or those that just like a fun mystery.
Overall rating: 4 out of 5
The Kneebone Boy
Feiwel & Friends
Review copy provided by author
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