Monday, February 9, 2009

Skeleton Creek ~ Patrick Carman review

Skeleton Creek
Scholastic Press
144 Pages
February 10, 2009

Skeleton Creek is a new kind of book-the text we're used to seeing in books, but also links to a website where you can enter passwords and watch short videos relevant to that part of the book. Here's a bit of a summary: Ryan and Sarah are determined to get to the bottom of the weird happenings in their town of Skeleton Creek (including where that name came from). But after a mysterious accident injures Ryan and leaves him housebound, their parents forbid them from seeing each other and they are forced to communicate (and mystery solve) in private. The storyis told Ryan's journal entries and Sarah's videos.

I'll admit that at first I wasn't sure about the idea of combining a traditional book with web videos as part of the storytelling. I know that kids and teens (and boys in particular) are reading less now and using the internet more (and yes I'm aware that I'm using the internet to review books), but the idea of saying, "Hey, read 20 pages of this book and you can watch a video!" gave me a little pause.

I was really surprised, though, just how much I did enjoy the format and the book. While it's listed as being for 9-12 year-olds, I think older readers could enjoy it as well (I know I did). I also think the video integration was done really well so that younger readers really can read the book because except for the last video, the journal entry following each video explains enough in Ryan's reaction that if one did miss the video, they could go on with the story.

What this means is that parents could go through and watch the videos to see if they had a problem with them for their kids (some of them might startle you or be creepy but nothing's violent or bloody or has bad language), and not allow them to watch those specific ones.

I hope I explained that well enough...

The book is in all caps (in a handwriting type font so it's not annoying) except for when other papers are pasted in so it's easier for younger readers to read but the writing finds that great balance between being easily understandable...yet not sounding like it's only for ten-year-olds.

Basically, I think the writing, the style, and presentation of Skeleton Creek are done so that readers of almost any age can read it (maybe with some parental oversight, but still). (I might be wrong and some of the plot points might be too complicated for younger readers but because nothing goes too in depth, I think it's okay.)

*and this fits nowhere because I had to add it in, but I loved that the passwords for the videos were literary-I think that'll encourage kids to possibly check out the respective tales.

My one real complaint is that there's a character named Ranger Bonner and knowing as many 12-year-old boys as I do, well, I can see potential, shall we say 'problems' with that name. I know some others, however, I might loan this to. Now, to wait for book two...

9/10 for this one

PhotobucketDon't Fear the Reaper ~ Blue Oyster Cult
I Wanna Scare Myself ~ Tigger
It Was You ~ Ashley Ballard

Thank you to Patrick Carman for this (arc)book!


  1. Great reivew! I'm reading this one right now and so far I like the format too.

  2. Hmm, this sounds really interesting.

  3. I read this one and really liked it too. It never occurred to me that boys would read into Ranger Bonner's

  4. I love everything related to skeletons, I remember that since I was a kid I had a fixation for bones


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