Cohen, Marina. A Box of Bones. Roaring Brook Press, 2019. $16.99. ISBN 9781250172211. 281 pages. Ages 8-12. P8 Q8
At the local Festival of Fools, Kallie meets a faceless man who gives her a wooden puzzle box. Kallie is logical and does not like wasting time on things she deems foolish, so she almost dismisses the box. However, the box has her intrigued and since it is mathematical, she decides to try to open it. When the cube opens up, nine small cubes fall out. They are made from an ivory colored substance and each cube has a picture on it. Every time she rolls the dice, they end up in the same order. Kallie wonders if the images on the cubes have meaning. As events start to unfold that match the dice, Kallie realizes that she needs to find a way to stop the disastrous events from happening. When Kallie was young, she was told that her mother died when she fell off a boat. This story follows Kallie’s adventure and links it back to an alternative world of Liah and the bone carver, where the box originated. When the author is telling Liah’s story the words are italicized so the reader is able to follow it. The way the author parallels Liah’s life and Kallie’s life gives understanding to the present events. This book will appeal to both readers who are logical and those who enjoy fantasy and adventure. It is a perfect blend of both.
Verdict: I highly recommend this book. It would make a great story for a family to read together or a teacher to read to a class. It shows readers that friends come in all forms and there are benefits to giving others a chance.
February 2020 review by Tami Harris.