The Skull: A Tyrolean Folktale (Hardcover)
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Caldecott Medalist and #1 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.
About the Author
Jon Klassen is the creator of the #1 New York Times best-selling I Want My Hat Back, which won a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor, and its companions: This Is Not My Hat, which won a Caldecott Medal and a Kate Greenaway Medal, and We Found a Hat, named a Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of the Year. He is also the author-illustrator of The Rock from the Sky and the illustrator of Extra Yarn, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, Triangle, Square, and Circle, all by Mac Barnett; House Held Up by Trees by Ted Kooser; the Skunk and Badger series by Amy Timberlake; and the middle-grade Pax series by Sara Pennypacker. Originally from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Jon Klassen now lives in Los Angeles.
Klassen’s recognizable graphite-and-ink illustrations capture the haunting—yet somehow charming—atmosphere of the stark Austrian setting, where shadows loom, bones come to life, and apricot sunshine cuts through the gloom. . . . Is the story creepy? You bet, but it’s also weirdly sweet and characterized by agency, kindness, and choice. . . . Klassen's newest offering will be highly coveted.
—Booklist (starred review)
Echoes of other forbidding fairy tales pervade this high-stakes telling, in which Otilla’s primal bravery and sly wit result in an arc from flight to mutual reliance.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Caldecott medalist Klassen’s signature style is brought to bear on a Tyrolean tale imbued with equal parts comfort and creepiness. . . . One can only hope that children will tell and retell this reinterpretation many times to themselves throughout the years. Employing his customary pitch-perfect tonal gymnastics, only Klassen could inspire readers to want craniums as pals.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Readers can enjoy a quick read, the implementation of interesting literary elements, and the humor that we have come to know from Klassen.
—School Library Connection
Jon Klassen brings his droll humor and just the right amount of spine-tingling creepiness to this retelling of a Tyrolean folktale. . . . Klassen uses his spare text to great effect and the mostly monochromatic illustrations provide just the right eerie echo. This is a book sure to be read over and over and over again. Even the most reluctant reader will be eager to keep these pages turning.
—The New York Journal of Books