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Billy Bones: Tales from the Secrets Closet    by Christopher Lincoln order for
Billy Bones
by Christopher Lincoln
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2008 (2008)
*   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

It will soon be that time of year when creepy tales make their way to shelves to entice young readers to get into the Halloween spirit. Billy Bones: Tales from the Secrets Closet by Christopher Lincoln has a little bit of the creepy atmosphere, but not enough to scare middle-readers. Actually, it is closer to a morality tale than a horror story.

Billy Bones, a young skeleton, cannot remember anything but living in Sir Barkley Braggety Biglum VI's secrets closet with his secret-keeper parents. He spends his days talking with his only friend a bug named Scamp and learning about secret keeping. Little does Billy know that he is the closet's biggest secret. When Sir Biglum's ward Millicent stumbles upon the secrets closet, Billy is allowed out for the night. However, this adventure may cost Billy's parents their jobs and Billy his life ... er ... death.

Billy Bones is full of plot twists, moral lessons, and kiddie humor. But even with all these elements combined, the story borders on confusing with some parts feeling like they were not well-thought out or just slapped together. Other times, important plot points are not explained well, and leave a little too much to the reader's imagination. Also, the title makes it sound like it is the first in a series, but by the end, there is nowhere else Billy's story can go.

Kids who just want a slightly-spooky, twisty tale will like Billy Bones: Tales from the Secrets Closet. However, those who want a little more would do better looking at other scary stories.

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