The Skull

The Skull
Age Range
Release Date
July 11, 2023
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A #1 New York Times bestseller!
A Kirkus Book Prize Finalist!

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.

Editor review

1 review
Spooky and Heartwarming
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
I really rather enjoyed this short read.
The authors note was excellent; Klassen is spot on when he says that one of the most magical things about folklore is the ways our brains re-shape the stories in our memories.

The writing style is very simple, yet elegant. Dark, yet light; the humor is just the right about of dark, with mild humor interjected throughout.
Despite it's darker plot, the story has a few tender & heartwarming moments.

I am left with the questions of why Otilla was running, and who is she running from?

The illustrations are delightful. The colors are muted, but fit the macabre storyline well; the scenes evoke a sense of warm and spooky vibes.
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