Reviews for Billy Bones : A Tale from the Secrets Closet


Booklist Reviews 2008 October #1
The old chestnut of "skeletons in the closet" is taken literally in this clever tale of a family of skeletons who act as secret-keepers in gloomy High Manners Manor. Skeletons are but one cog in an afterlife bureaucracy including reapers, ghosts, and manifestations, but it's young Billy Bones who soon has the underworld buzzing. Tired of keeping secrets, he gets his chance to live out his pirate fantasies when a friendly orphan named Millicent becomes a ward of the manor's patriarch. With the further involvement of a grandmother found locked in the attic, as well as a swashbuckling ghost, the very structure of the afterlife is threatened when Billy is "un-murdered" back into a little boy. If this doesn't make perfect sense, don't panic--the book's biggest hurdle is its convoluted universe. But the plot, reminiscent of the movie Beetlejuice, nicely mixes the macabre with the merry, and the dual protagonists should engage girls and boys alike. Readers who don't consider skeletons adorable might even have their minds changed by the charming illustrations. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
Billy lives in a closet full of secrets, and it's not a bad life. Everything changes when Millicent comes to High Manners Manor. Can Billy stop her from exposing his secrets? Does he want to? Lincoln is a little too delighted by his own fantasy-world-building, but skimming over the ponderous descriptions reveals a cheerfully creepy tale of family mystery. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2008 July #1
Newly orphaned Millicent Hues has a natural curiosity that suits her new home, High Manners Manor. Sadly, her explorations are curtailed by her greedy uncle, Sir Biglum, and his housekeeper, Miss Primly. High Manners is a house good at keeping its secrets, but the last thing Millicent would have expected was to stumble upon a closet with honest-to-goodness skeletons in it. The Bones family members are the official secret-keepers of the household, but young Billy Bones, tired of his closet home, shares Millicent's desire for adventure. Sir Biglum's own secrets are intricately tied to Billy's past, and it's up to these intrepid new friends to uncover the truth behind the lies and to defeat the villains who wish to destroy them. Lincoln's book has an easygoing charm that never demands much of its readers. Despite multiple death scenes (most related in flashback), it's a light read with a gentle tone. Not a particularly new or original piece of work, but one that's sure to amuse those kids with a love of the mildly macabre. (Horror. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 October

Gr 4-6-- Full of creatively descriptive language, this delightful story moves along rapidly, bordering on but never crossing into campy. Billy Bones lives with his parents, the proverbial skeletons in the closet, who have the job of guarding the secrets and lies of the residents of High Manners Manor, including the current household head, the nefarious Sir Barkley Braggety Biglum VI. His recently orphaned niece, Millicent, now lives at the mansion, where she is relegated to the attic. Naturally curious, she often sneaks out of her room to explore. She comes upon her grandmother, Dame Biglum, who has been shut away upstairs, and the Bones's secrets closet. After recovering from their initial fright, the youngsters become friends, and they work together to uncover secrets about the Biglum family history, Billy's puzzling origins, and Barkley's latest plot. Meanwhile, in the Afterlife, investigations about the Boneses' own family mysteries are underway. All works out in the end as secrets are revealed, goodness and truth win out over lies and deception, and villains get their just deserts. Characters are aptly named--the unlikable housekeeper, Miss Primly; the collector of souls, Uncle Grim; and the lawyers Hack, Whack, and Plunder. Cartoon sketches add to the drama and humor. Billy Bones is a fun read.--Jennifer D. Montgomery, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green

[Page 152]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2008 December
Ten-year-old Billy Bones spends his days locked away in the darkest, most secret closet in the Biglum mansion. There he watches as his parents sort and file the Biglum family's biggest secrets, shady half-truths, and darkest lies into crates and chests that crowd the small space. Life is boring and a bit lonely for Billy, whose only friend is a beetle named Scamp, but when a little girl named Millicent moves into the attic of the big house, excitement follows. An amateur sleuth, Millicent quickly uncovers a host of surprises: ghosts, manifestations, an old woman locked away, and more important, Billy and his family. Released from his secrets closet, Billy and Millicent work together to uncover the mysteries surrounding the Biglum family and its evil heir, Sir Biglum. Although there is much to discover, nothing is as shocking as the secrets they uncover about Billy himself A delightful new take on skeletons in the closet, this book offers a unique story for fans of both mystery and the supernatural. Although the "secrets" are uncovered without great difficulty, the narrative remains gripping as specters appear around every corner. The most colorful character, however, is the elderly grandmother, whose spunk and tenacity will quickly find her a place in the hearts of readers. A fast and fun read, the story wraps up a bit abruptly and without much trouble, but most readers will be attached enough to the characters not to mind a "happily every after" for all of them.-Courtney Wika 4Q 2P M Copyright 2008 Voya Reviews.

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