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Billy Bones: Tales from the Secrets Closet Hardcover – August 1, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Christopher Lincoln graduated from the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University and spent nearly a decade working as an animator. He credits animation for teaching him how to write, because an animator must learn how to inhabit a character's body and move him in a world of his own. This is his first book for young readers. His Web site is www.chrislincoln.org.
Top customer reviews
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I will just say it is a wonderful adventure. It would be perfect for independent readers who are picky about the books they read. It's often difficult to get boys to read fiction, and I think this is the kind of book many of them will find fascinating. It is full of adventure with just enough creepiness to thrill the easily bored. It also doesn't hurt that it is beautifully written and very funny.
After the death of her parents, Sir Biglum's niece, Millicent, must move to High Manners Manor, and is forced to live upstairs in the attic. But she is not totally alone. She is visited often by her parents, ghosts from the Afterlife. She is also closely watched by the housekeeper, Miss Hester Primly, who is not a ghost or a skeleton, but is infinitely more frightening.
Millicent, a natural explorer, finds that there are secret passages in the mansion and, as a result, learns she's not the only person living upstairs. Both Millicent and her newfound friend have the uncommon ability to see ghosts. It's not long before Millicent stumbles upon the secrets closet and meets the Bones family.
The secrets in the closet are piling up. The Bones have signed for an unauthorized shipment for Millicent, that has nothing to do with secrets, and which clearly violates rules of the Afterlife. Commissioner Pickerel, from the Investigative Branch of the Righteousness Department, pays them a visit and forces them through a glowing portal to the afterlife.
Without Mr. and Mrs. Bones to keep the mounting secrets organized, filed, and locked away, generations of Biglum secrets begin exploding at an alarming rate. Just as lies pile upon lies, one secret revealed, reveals another, and another. It's up to Billy and Millicent to discover the real truth of High Manners Manor.
BILLY BONES is a delightful, playful book. Christopher Lincoln's creativity is astounding and his knack for description is enviable. I completely enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who's ever wished they could meet a pirate, scare a ghost, or...shhh...tell a secret.
Reviewed by: Cana Rensberger
This book is very special to me and close to my heart - Chris and I started SCBWI together as newbies, and he told me his idea for this book way back in 2005. Now here it is - all I can say is it was well worth the wait, and I can't believe this quiet guy had all these neat ideas running around in his head!
Every family has "skeletons" in their closet, but the Biglum family has a Family of Skeletons (Billy Bones and his parents, Lars and Decette Bones) tucked away in the Secrets Closet at High Manners Mansion. The Bones family guards the locked chests full of all the nasty secrets of the mansion's inhabitants. A young girl by the name of Millicent moves into the mansion and befriends Billy. Millicent's parents recently died, so she was sent to live with her Uncle, Sir Barkley Biglum. He more or less banishes her up to an attic bedroom and has Housekeeper Ms. Primly assign her kitchen duty etc. to earn her keep. When Billy's Uncle Grim (aka the Grim Reaper) shows up for Billy . . . unexpected, unexplainable events take place and huge changes are about to happen to all the residents of High Manners Mansion, alive OR dead! Can you guess what the events are? You will just have to read this terrific book to find out what happens to Billy, Millicent and all the others that dwell in the life of the living and the life of the Afterlife -- all under one roof at High Manners Mansion. Be prepared for plenty of ghosts, skeletons, visions, Oculus, manifestations, specters, et al. And just for good measure, Chris even threw in a pirate and his parrot!
I give this book a high five, and five stars for being such a page-turner with a very unique and twisting plot. I never knew what to expect next, and was almost breathless to the very end of this book! If you like spooky things that are just spooky enough to keep you on the edge of your seat, this is the book for you! I highly recommend this for any age group of children that might be considered reluctant readers even - they won't be able to put this book down - their curiosity as to what happens next will get them! Awesome job, Chris! And, there will be a sequel I am told - I can hardly wait!
Billy Bones: A Tale from the Secrets Closet