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Review: The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter

The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter

288 pages, Feiwel & Friends, (2010-09-14)

$16.99 (


Feiwel and Friends sent me an ARC for review.

My Grade

Plot: 5

Setting: 5

Writing: 3

Originality: 5

Characters: 5

Romance: 5

Overall: 28/20 = 93% A

Cover/Title Bonus: 5


An amazing castle adventure showing just how strong a child’s love for a mother really is; fire breathing dragons and all.

Summary (Feiwel and Friends)

Life in a small town can be pretty boring when everyone avoids you like the plague. But after their father unwittingly sends them to stay with an aunt who’s away on holiday, the Hardscrabble children take off on an adventure that begins in the seedy streets of London and ends in a peculiar sea village where legend has it a monstrous creature lives who is half boy and half animal. . . .

In this wickedly dark, unusual, and compelling novel, Ellen Potter masterfully tells the tale of one deliciously strange family and a secret that changes everything.


Unavailable at this time.

First Line(s)

There were three of them. Otto was the oldest, and the oddest. Then there was Lucia [(Lu-CHEE-a)], who wished something interesting would happen. Last of all was Max, who always thought he knew better.

Most Memorable Scene

The dragon guarded secret passageway.


The only thing I can say about the plot is: amazingly well thought out. I loved it from the beginning and especially to it’s end.


Little Tunks, England is where the Hardscrabbles live. They take a trip to another location, which I can’t remember the name of, but it’s amazing when they get there. It’s a mock castle beside the real castle. Basically a play castle that was built for the castle owners to allow their children to live in and have loads of fun.

I especially loved the mock castle. I would have done anything to have lived there as a child and I am so thankful to Ellen Potter for writing it so I could envision myself doing just that through the Hardscrabbles.


I have to state that I was not a fan of the narration of this book at first. She writes it from the voice of one of the children, who we never find out, but it’s just very strange at first. It almost feels like Ellen wasn’t  yet comfortable in her writing skills and was talking out loud while she wrote, making sure we completely understood exactly what she was doing. I think an example would be best so I’ll just browse real fast and find one.

page 24, ARC edition:

(I hope you don’t think I’m teasing by not telling you what Otto found. I will, I promise. It’s just that there is a right time and place for everything, and 7:19 p.m. on a Thursday in Casper’s attic studio is simply not the right time and place.)

See what I mean? Addressing the reader directly on is just kind of weird. I’m thinking that because this book is being driven towards middle grade readers that it might be acceptable to them but I’m not sure. It made me disconnect from the story its self when these exchanges came up.


I loved the uniqueness to this story. I love how all the characters had so much detail put into them.

The overall ending to this tale is what makes the entire book original. I’ve never read something that just made total and complete sense by the happening of one important event. The closure I felt for the characters was just amazing.


Otto, Lucia, and Max are the main children. Along the way they adopt the cat pictured on the cover with it’s 6 toes and 5 legs. Their Aunt Haddie was a free spirit if I ever saw one. And their dad, Casper, was cool yet very odd.

As mentioned before each character has so much detail given about them that it’s impossible to not love each and everyone one of Ellen Potter’s characters.


Since this is a middle grade book there is no romance per se. I left this category in my review because the overall message of this book is the love they felt for their missing mother. They were such a tight family and it was made very apparent how much they each truly loved each other.

Cover/Title Bonus

The cover is so so so beautiful. I first saw it over on Shannon Messenger’s blog and have since been hooked and hoping that I’d receive a review copy.

Read the first chapter!


Wife, mother of a nearly 7 year old daughter named Madison and new baby boy Riley. Avid reader on my Amazon Kindle. World of Warcraft and CS:S gamer.

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