Saturday, January 8, 2011

Looking for Newbery - The Kneebone Boy

This is the last review Bill and I will post before making our predictions (sort of) tomorrow, the day before all of our favorite ALA awards are announced -- yay!!

Now that I have that out of my system, the last (but definitely not the least) book we'll talk about in our Looking for Newbery series is The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter.

First of all, I loved SLOB by Ellen Potter, so long before I knew The Kneebone Boy had some Newbery buzz surrounding it, I had wanted to read it. SLOB was so well done, with amazing character development, wonderful language, and some great surprises for the reader at the end. The Kneebone Boy has all of that as well, and pays equal attention to the clarity of detail and the importance of surprising the reader (not to worry, no spoilers here).

This story is about the three Hardscrabble children: Otto, Lucia, and Max. One of them is the narrator of the story, however the narrator never tells the reader which child he/she truly is. I definitely have my suspicions, but would love to talk to someone else who has read this book to see what they think.

The reader learns so much about each of the characters through their actions, their dialogue, what others say about them, and all the delightful tidbits of information the narrator drops for us along the way. This story will appeal to children because by chapter 3, the children have embarked on a great adventure, have been victims of one mess-up after another, travel far away on their own, and meet some very intriguing characters as well

And don't even get me started on the eccentricities of those supporting characters! Potter is truly a talented writer to be able to conjure up so many amazing personalities.

But it's not enough to have great characters; if an author doesn't have a story worth telling, the premise will far apart. Happily, that is not the case for The Kneebone Boy. It has a great plot with several subplots woven in as well that tie together very nicely in the end, and results in a fabulous book. I won't be a bit surprised if The Kneebone Boy gets some love from the Newbery judges. It is well written and most definitely distinguished!

And so there you have it: 13 days of Looking for Newbery. We hope you've enjoyed spending time thinking about some of these possible Newbery contenders with us. There are other very worthy books we didn't get to talk about with only 13 days this year, so we apologize if we didn't include one of your favorites.

It certainly has been fun having you stop by. Please come back and visit on Sunday for our final wrap-up, and some predictions.

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