The Skull of Truth

Bruce Coville, Author, Gary A. Lippincott, Illustrator Harcourt Children's Books $17 (208p) ISBN 978-0-15-275457-0
In this moralistic fantasy, the third in the Magic Shop series that began with Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, Charlie--passionate environmentalist and compulsive liar--stumbles on Mr. Elives's mysterious shop. He comes away carrying a wisecracking human skull that forces him, and those around him, to tell the truth. The skull helps Charlie sort out his personal life and save some swamp creatures from extinction, telling bad jokes all the while (e.g., ""I couldn't tell a lie if my life depended on it,"" the skull explains. ""If my life depended on it! Oh, god--I kill me!"") Two subplots emphasize the importance of honesty on the one hand (Charlie's beloved Uncle Bennie comes out of the closet) and tact on the other (Charlie's friend Gilbert, bald from chemotherapy, is deeply hurt by truthful comments about his appearance). An unusual resolution to the latter problem finds Charlie and all his friends, girlfriend included, shaving their heads. Magic fans may wish for more of the intriguing shop and its talking rats and less of the skull's simple curse. An excursion into the story of Hamlet is meandering and poorly integrated (the skull, alas, was once poor Yorick). Though the tale itself is lackluster, Coville does keep readers engaged with tight plotting and an otherworldly climax. Black-and-white illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.