The Skull: eBook (Fixed layout)

By Jon Klassen

Caldecott Medalist and #1 New York Times best-selling author-illustrator Jon Klassen delivers a deliciously macabre treat for folktale fans.

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.

Categories: Ebooks

For readers aged: 6+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Fixed layout
  • ISBN: 9781529525908
  • Published: 04 Apr 2024
  • Price: £12.99
  • Pages: 112

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Customer reviews


'A dark, delectable adventure.' The Daily Telegraph

'A mysterious, exquisitely presented gothic tale about a runaway girl and a talking skull, who befriend each other, and a threatening headless skeleton. Klassen’s images make astonishing use of light and dark, especially in his rosy-fingered dawn.' The Sunday Times

'Beautiful, heartwarming, funny, and only very mildly spooky. If anyone can turn an obscure Middle-European folk fable into a bestseller, it’s Klassen.' Daily Telegraph

'Klassen’s deadpan humour and shadowy illustration combine to darkly chilling effect as he harnesses the power of traditional storytelling. Brilliant.' Daily Mail

'“This is a delicious little horror, inspired by a Tyrolean folk tale, about a lonely, abandoned skull who plays host to a very brave little girl. It has surprises, a clever wit and some knockout illustrations.”' Big Issue

'Haunting and charming, its sense of warm companionship offsets the spookiness.' The Daily Telegraph

'Jon Klassen is a sublime storyteller and illustrator… The simple, sombre illustrations conjure up everything the deadpan prose doesn’t say. Based on a folk tale Klassen found in Alaska and reworked, it is captivating.' The Spectator

'Klassen’s illustrations are beautifully atmospheric, providing the perfect backdrop for this strange, tender tale. Children and adults alike will be captivated and uplifted by this book that is particularly perfect for spooky season – and ideal for newly-independent readers.' The Scotsman

'Strange and deliciously creepy, with strong, eye-catching illustrations that use pumpkin orange as a key colour, this is the perfect Halloween read for children who like something a bit different.' Irish Independent

'An amazingly dark little fairytale… definitely up there with the best of the dark picture books.' The Island of Brilliant Podcast

'Klassen was inspired by a Tyrolean Folktake to create this deliciously creepy story […] Told with Klassen's trademark mix of humour, suspense and expressive illustrations, this macabre tale will be a treat for readers of any age.' The Bookseller

'Unexpectedly and delightfully dark, this tale inspired by an historical folklore story will provide an intriguing and haunting read. […] An unusual and irresistible addition to your home library.' WRD Magazine

'Steeped in shadows and threaded with subtle wit, this is a mysterious and foreboding picture book.' ACHUKA

'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.' Mrs Ripley's Enchanted Books

'Striking, illustrated in minimum detail with mostly monochromatic colours and plenty of surrounding darkness […] Some children may love this unusual story; others may hate it. But both parties will surely want to read its minimum text just to find out what on earth is going to happen next.' Books for Keeps

'Jon Klassen brings his witty writing to a spooky folk tale in this compelling and empowering book.' Reading Matters Guide 2023

'This little book is enigmatic. It affected me deeply. […] It is also hauntingly beautiful, in a rather strange way. It is strange. But such a wonderful strange. […] Only a great artist and writer can fill simplicity with as much as Jon Klassen does here. I can see The Skull gaining the sort of popularity and status of, say, Where the Wild Things Are. It should.' Magic Fiction Since Potter

'Weird and wonderful is Jon Klassen’s adaptation of a traditional Tyrolean folktale. Klassen brings his wry humour to this sometimes creepy, sometimes comforting and consoling telling.' Red Reading Hub

'The Skull gives us something a bit different – a dark, even macabre, fairy story that deals with its almost supernatural themes with wit and a deftness of touch that somehow creates a fable of friendship and trust.' The Letterpress Project

'With its spooky vibes that are also sweet and charming, this story of a girl and a skull is in a category of its own. Klassen’s colour palette perfectly complements that dark but warm tones of this Tyrolean folk tale […] The perfect Halloween gift book.' My Book Corner

'The illustrations are haunting and beautiful […] A dark forest, snow and a castle full of masks make a wonderful scary story.' Read for Good

'The Skull is a wonderful, eery, dark and spooky adaptation of a Tyrolean folktale and for such a small book it really packs a punch! Beautifully illustrated throughout, it portrays the tale of love, care, and intriguing friendship.' The School Librarian

'A master of writing, this new offering by Jon Klassen is a dark thriller that will be loved by adults and children alike.' English 4-11

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