Book review

Bag of Bones by Helen Cresswell (1997)

There's plenty of action and magic in this story, because the bag of bones which Griselda Dogberry finds in the park can transform itself, in the strangest kind of dance, into a beautiful and powerful cat. The bag of bones appeared because Griselda wished very hard for something special to happen. But when it does happen Griselda has to nip back home for her brother and sister because she's pretty scared by the whole thing. Together, the not-very-brave children follow the shining cat to the very edge of the world, only to find another world, strange, threatening and challenging.

Meanwhile, a horrible character hangs around the children's home. A Rag and Bone man persists in calling.

'Bones I'm after, and bones is what you've got!'

'Raggabow', it seems, will stop at nothing to get hold of the bag of bones and the three children have to work hard to protect their cat and outwit Raggabow.

Obviously Raggabow wants the bag of bones for himself so that he can have the cat's power for himself, but quite exactly where Raggabow came from and quite exactly who he is we are never really told. And if you like the ends of your stories neatly tied off you may be left wondering where the Raggabow went to when he conveniently disappeared into thin air at the end of the book. And why did The Murdoch look so uncannily like Raggabow? And who exactly, for that matter, was the cat? Did he create that world full of bones, or did Griselda do it with her imagination?Quite a lot of questions popped into my mind while I was reading this book and I did get rather confused about why some of the characters behaved the way they did.

On the other hand, if you like gaps to fill in yourself after you've read a story, so that you've got plenty to think about, then perhaps this is the book for you!

What can I read next?

If you really enjoy Bag of Bones, you might like to try these other books also by Helen Cresswell:

Diana Wynne Jones writes similar books with a strong magic theme. Have a look at:

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