Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on March 1, 2007
Mr. Elives’s magic shop is back, and this time it is on the other side of Tucker’s Swamp. And Tucker’s Swamp is where Charlie Eggleston heads to escape a beating-for lying. Charlie can’t seem to keep from lying, though sometimes his lies are for a good cause. When Charlie stumbles into Mr. Elives’s magic shop, his eyes light upon The Skull. Charlie steals The Skull and it puts him under some sort of spell-he can only tell the truth. Trouble is, now no one believes him. . . .
You know that one kid that couldn’t tell the truth if their life depended on it? Meet Charlie, the main character of THE SKULL OF TRUTH, my favorite book in Bruce Coville’s Magic Shop series. I was the weird kid in grade school that loved Shakespeare long before most of my peers had even heard of The Bard. So give me a talking skull and a major Hamlet reference and I’m a happy camper.
THE SKULL OF TRUTH is about the skull of Yorrick, the fool referenced in HAMLET as the title character laments “Alas, poor Yorrick, I knew him Horatio…” If you’re a literature geek like me, a peak at this character which we hardly see is an awesome moment. Its also a bit creepy, talking skulls, spirits, and a mysterious presence that’s hunting the skull. The PERFECT Halloween read.
As is the style of the Magic Shop books, this one has a lesson. This time, about lying. And while the others are more subtle, I find this more interesting. Forcing a liar to tell the truth? Such a fascinating study in people and belief. Even as a kid I thought it was both hilarious and a great way to teach the point. I’ve always been a bit of an imaginative thinker so this style appealed to me much more than any other.
Note that this book is probably the creepiest of the set. SKULL OF TRUTH has a very sinister vibe at times, which is probably why I liked it so much. I’m a big spooky, Halloween loving nerd. Always have been. But for some of the younger set this one could be a bit much towards its climax. Some of the older covers showcased this vibe perfectly, while others were much more cheery. This is definitely one of those I would like to collect. I mean, just look at these!
I mean really, this one has the best covers of all!
This book will always be my favorite and I highly recommend it to people of all ages. Parents, read it to your kids. Kids, read it yourselves. Teenagers, read it after reading HAMLET for class. Teacher, teach it to your students! This is a book I will happily reread every year for the rest of my life.
What is your favorite spooky book? Share it in the comments below.
From my shelf to yours,