The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter tells the story of the Hardscrabble children, Otto, Lucia and Max, whose mother disappeared several years before the book begins.
The book is narrated by one of the Hardscrabbles but the narrator refuses to tell us which one. The oldest brother, Otto, has not spoken in years and wears a scarf all the time, winter, summer, day and night. He looks different from his siblings, too, having blond hair while their hair is dark. Perhaps, he is the narrator?
Their father is an artist, painting the portraits of lesser aristocracy and fallen royalty. He travels quite a bit but brings home the best sketches and wild stories of the people he meets.
One of the children intercepts a letter from an aunt they barely know threatening to do something if the father doesn't tell them the truth about their mother. Then their father is called away to do another portrait and he sends the three children to spend time with this aunt. But she is not expecting them and they are on their own.
Which turns out to be fine, actually. These books are always far more satisfying if the children have to find their own way. The aunt lets them stay in the "folly" or playhouse right outside Kneebone castle and it is here that they learn about the mythical Kneebone Boy.
Every generation, the Kneebone family produces a child who is horribly deformed - or so it is told. The castle is supposed to be abandoned but the Hardscrabbles know it is not and they are determined to save the Kneebone boy from isolation and deprivation.
The playhouse is huge - as big as a regular house - with gadgets and trickery galore. And there is an ominous local who spends far too much time in the surrounding woods - as do Otto, Lucia and Max.
The ending ties everything up very neatly, and if I was ten or eleven or twelve, I'd accept it without question. After all, parents do things for unfathomable reasons, right? So, read The Kneebone Boy.
When you do, I'd like to know. Did you even for one second, expect it to end the way it does?
Ellen Potter's retelling of the classic The Secret Garden goes on sale this week: The Humming Room. To celebrate we put together a little blog tour! be sure to check out these blog tour stops for some Q&As with Ellen and guest posts written by Ellen, and find out more about Ellen Potter and the world she created in The Humming Room!
Monday 2/27 http://bunburyinthestacks.blogspot.com/
Tuesday 2/28 http://janasbooklist.blogspot.com/
Wednesday 2/29 http://www.missiontoread.com/
Thursday 3/1 http://redhousebooks.blogspot.com/
Friday 3/2 http://www.kidlitfrenzy.com/
Monday 3/5 http://www.greatimaginations.blogspot.com/
Tuesday 3/6 http://www.wordforteens.com/
Wednesday 3/7 http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/
Thursday 3/8 http://www.thebookrat.com/
I’m happy to report that my master plan for world domination is well under way.
Yes, I’ve got Vermont!
Yes, Kentucky too!
And now, at long last, Oklahoma is mine! All mine!
Three states down, 47 to go. I feel like Alf Landon in the 1936 elections, staring up at the big board as the electoral vote trickled in. How’d that work out for old Alf, I wonder?
Answer: He lost to FDR, 8 electoral votes to 525.
This Alf might have fared better.
Seriously, what an honor to be nominated. It’s so great when you throw a book out into the world and something positive bounces back. (Imagine, I just griped about this the other day.)
I received an email from Christopher Elliott, which said:
Congratulations!! You have been nominated for the Oklahoma Library Association’s Sequoyah Book Award. The Sequoyah Book Award program is one of the most prestigious of the state student choice awards in the nation.
I am pleased to notify you personally that your book “Bystander” has been nominated for the 2011-2012 Intermediate Masterlist. I am attaching a list of this year’s nominees. You have been nominated for the 2011-2012 program that will be promoted from May 2011 until the voting deadline of March 31, 2012. Votes will be counted in early April, 2012 and the winning author(s) will be notified by April 30, 2012.
The OLA Conference will be held either late March or early April 2013. If your book is selected as a winner, I look forward to contacting you to arrange for your trip to Oklahoma to accept the Sequoyah Award from Oklahoma students.
Here is a list of the Nominations for the 2011-2012 Intermediate Award. Remember the students of Oklahoma will choose the winner.
Chasing Lincoln’s Killer, James Swanson
Darkwood , M.E. Breen
Watersmeet, Ellen Abbott
The Girl Who Threw Butterflies , Mick Cochrane
Closed for the Season, Mary Downing Hahn
The Brooklyn Nine, Alan Gratz
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice , Phillip Hoose
The Amaranth Enchantment, Julie Berry
What am I reading now? The Danger Box by Blue Balliett
Non-fiction has a bad wrap. The genre has been categorized as, quite simply, boring, and rightly so. For years, the approach has left much to be desired. Alas, that has all changed.
The credit for this shift goes to a handful of innovative minds. A select few that dare to think outside the box and, by doing so, they have done what their predecessors didn’t. They made children’s non-fiction fun.
An ingenious formula that includes creativity and imagination has led throngs of young readers, and me, to their books. Of course, these innovators took advantage of colour and graphics, who wouldn’t. But, most importantly, they offer the reader the opportunity to participate. To be part of the learning process as a driver and not a passenger. That, my dear readers, deserves our recognition!
Don’t miss these exceptional titles:
How to Build Your Own Country by Valerie Wyatt | Kids Can Press
Learn to Speak Music by John Crossingham | Owlkids Books
Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter | Flash Point
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