Billy Bones: a tale from the secrets closet
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BILLY BONES: A TALE FROM THE SECRETS CLOSET by Christopher Lincoln
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ISBN 13: 9780316078207
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Sign up and be the first to hear about the latest news, offers and competitions:. But Billy and Millicent - who can see what others cannot; skeletons for example - make friends, and gradually they uncover the extent of Sir Biglum's wickedness and the ghastly secret behind it all.
Billy is really a Biglum. Think Beetljuice for kids and that's all I really need to say about this book.
It's tremendous fun, with a great pantomime-style narrative and plenty of humour. The Afterlife is run by a kind of overly officious civil service and has more daft regulations than you could shake a stick at. Millicent is a proper Cinderella figure - abused by the very person who gets credit for taking her in.
Billy is a changeling who must be restored to his rightful place once the villain has been defeated by some non-violent banana skin skits. It's light, it's harmless, it isn't scary and it makes you laugh.
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It is, though, a very light read. The villains are cardboard cutouts and even Millicent and Billy, the central characters, are fairly two dimensional. Billy's secret isn't secret for very long and nobody finds it particularly difficult to vanquish the wicked Sir Biglum. While I don't think the book is trying for great depth - and why should it?
It's light and it's fun, but I don't think it will stay with them for too long after they've read it. It's enjoyable and kindly and full of visual gags and as such it's a satisfying read, but if they're looking for something with challenge, Billy Bones might fall a little short of the mark. Recommended for a library borrowing and as a purchase only for those who are particular fans of its type.
For those who like something with a bit more meat on its ghostly bones, Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror is a slightly more challenging read - and a bit more than slightly scarier.