Book Review: The Return of Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac and Sally Wern Comport

HarperCollins, 2006
ISBN: 0060580909
Available: New and Used
Molly hasn’t really recovered from her terrifying experience with Skeleton Man, a greedy creature who kidnapped her parents and then posed as her uncle. Although she and her parents escaped, Skeleton Man was never found, and Molly knows he’s out there, planning to get her. Her parents, determined that life should go on as normally as possible, take Molly with them to an isolated hotel resort in the mountains of upstate New York at the end of October, where they are blocked off from the outside world from a sudden blizzard, with a celebration of Dia de los Muertos inside. With costumed crowds, dark hallways and twisty trails, it’s a perfect location for the Skeleton Man to grab Molly. In addition to the resourcefulness Molly exhibited in the first book, she manages also to gain some powerful allies. The vivid detail in Bruchac’s writing draws a compelling picture, and his knowledge of Native American traditions comes across effectively. Where the story really excels, however, is in creating an atmosphere of foreboding, uncertainty, and fear. The story is told by Molly in first person, so the reader experiences these emotions up close and personal. Molly’s actual confrontation with the Skeleton Man is almost a disappointment after the ominous feelings foreshadowed by Molly’s nightmares and intuitions. The Return of Skeleton Man works as a stand alone novel, but is best enjoyed as a follow-up to Skeleton Man, which has now been described by School Library Journal as “a modern horror classic.” Ages 9-12. Recommended. Contains: kidnapping. Review by Francesca the Librarian

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