Billy Bones: Tales from the Secrets Closet

Common Sense Media says

Playfully spooky, cool, and full of imagination.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Violence

Death tries to take a soul and the person describes it, a pet is killed, a young boy is starved to death and he is described to be wasting away, but there's no death scene. A group of people are threatened by a man with a shotgun.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults drink alcohol.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's a murder and attempted murder in this book. Lots of talk of the afterlife and death, but it isn't graphic or particularly scary.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

What's the story?

Billy Bones is a skeleton who lives in the secrets closet at High Manners Manor. Billy's parents organize the secrets, lies, etc., of the Biglum family, and they always have lots and lots to organize. When a new family member moves into the manor, things begin to change. New mysteries pop up, including secrets surrounding his own family. Billy and his new friend Millicent must unravel the mysteries before the evil Sir Biglum can wreak havoc on all their lives.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

BILLY BONES is great fun. It's spooky, cool, and full of imagination. Readers will enjoy hanging out with ghosts, Death -- who's known as "Uncle Grim" -- and the sinister manifestations that lurk all over the Biglum home. A series of secrets and mysteries are at the center of this story and author Christopher Lincoln guides his audience through them artfully, teasing and revealing clues at all the right moments.

This is a book that kids will have a hard time putting down. If there was ever a way to bring warmth and likeability to the Grim Reaper, skeletons, and ghosts, this book did it so successfully it feels almost normal to find a skeleton drinking cocoa in the closet. The novel has a good pace and a great message: secrets and lies are always exposed to the light of truth.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about lies and secrets. How can lies make life harder? What about secrets? Is there ever a way to keep a secret safe? What are the benefits of releasing a secret?

Book details

Author:Christopher Lincoln
Illustrator:Avi Ofer
Genre:Mystery
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:August 1, 2008
Number of pages:304
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Read aloud:9
Read alone:9

This review of Billy Bones: Tales from the Secrets Closet was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 10 years old June 7, 2009
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

A must read for kids ages 8+.

A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!!! Great book! Suitable for kids 8 and up if they are strong readers. You may get stuck at the beginning as it isn't the most exciting part of the book, but... READ ON!!! this book is A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!!! I really enjoyed this book; it is good for people who are not creeped out by skeletons or have a religion in which skeletons are bad.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential School Tools