Saturday, July 29, 2023

The Skull: A Tyrolean Folktale by Jon Klassen

Caldecott Medalist and New York Times best-selling author-illustrator Jon Klassen delivers a deliciously macabre treat for folktale fans.

Jon Klassen's signature wry humor takes a turn for the ghostly in this thrilling retelling of a traditional Tyrolean folktale. In a big abandoned house, on a barren hill, lives a skull. A brave girl named Otilla has escaped from terrible danger and run away, and when she finds herself lost in the dark forest, the lonely house beckons. Her host, the skull, is afraid of something too, something that comes every night. Can brave Otilla save them both? Steeped in shadows and threaded with subtle wit—with rich, monochromatic artwork and an illuminating author’s note— The Skull is as empowering as it is mysterious and foreboding.

Hardcover, 112 pages
Published July 11, 2023
 by Candlewick
4/5 stars

The Skull is a retelling of an old folktale, also called The Skull. There are great author notes at the end which gives Klassen's motivation and how he began his journey to write this book. It was in Alaska where he first read the story, The Skull and try as I might I cannot find the original version. 

The Skull is a story of a girl who runs away from home and makes a friend in an unlikely place and honestly an unlikely friend, a skull. What follows is a story of a girl finding her strength, while facing danger and finds refuge in a huge but lonely house in the dark woods.

One might think this would be a scary story for children, but it’s not. The illustrations throughout this book are many and breathe life into the story. This was an impulse purchase for me and a fun read.

This book was part of my 2023 reading off my shelf challenge and it’s book number 49.

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