Review: Skeleton Keys The Legend of Gap-Tooth Jack

The Legend of Gap-Tooth Jack is the third tale from the genius that is Guy Bass … I mean, Skeleton Keys.   Dark, spooky and hilarious with the most brilliantly playful use of language, this is an absolutely delicious delight that will immediately disappear from my class library into the hands of an eager child as soon as I can get the obligatory plastic dustjacket on it!  And I’m sure it will spend very little time on the shelf if its predecessors are any indication of popularity!

Ol’ Mr Keys, in his own inimitable style, is back for another fantabulous tall tale of the unimaginary … and this time he’s unravelling the truth behind the legend of Gap-tooth Jack, and what a splediferous treat of a tale it is …

Skeleton Keys has felt the twitch of an unimagining and as is his duty, he has come to investigate in seven-year-old Kasper’s abode. Kasper has unimagined an IF, Wordy Gerdy, a ghoul-girl, and a ghost writer who can use her pen to re-write reality with disastrous consequences …

Luckily, Mr Keys can call upon his rather scary, rather rude -sorry, incredibly rude – unimaginary partner-in-adventure, Daisy (she of the backwards head) to help deal with any shenanigans thrown at him by Wordy Gerdy, but things don’t quite go according to plan … and Mr Keys finds himself without his keys, and stuck in his own past … trying to avoid the person who imagined him into being, for fear of ending the universe!  No problem for someone as fantabulously ingenious as Mr Keys.  All he has to do is hide, and let Daisy do the work …oh, if only it was that easy …

Rather than finding Wordy Gerdy, Daisy finds herself being knocked over by a young, daring pickpocket, Gap-tooth Jack, and the rest, as they say, is history … or rather, a fabulous story filled with monstrous clowns, daring thefts and ripe aromas. Daisy is incapable of keeping a low profile, and is soon reunited with her partner as they give chase to Gap-tooth Jack … and uncover more than they ever expected. Will ‘Ol Mr Keys and Daisy be able to thwart Wordy Gerdy, retrieve his fantabulant keys, and return to reality?

This story is brimming with exquisite excitement, twists galore, oodles of danger, stomach-aching hilarity, an adorably rude (with hidden depths of kindness – very well hidden!) invisible girl, a perfectly polite skeleton and an unforgettable legend.  What more could anyone possibly imagine? 

The illustrations by Pete Williamson are absolutely perfect, and really capture the heart of this explosion of the imagination, although my clown phobia has not been helped!

I have it on good authority from my class that this series is endlessly entertaining and I have no doubt that Gap-Tooth Jack will be just as popular.  Thank you, Mr Keys, … strange things can indeed happen when imaginations run wild, and there is nothing better for a teacher than seeing children engrossed in such fantastic stories!  I’m so excited that there will be another adventure with the fantabulous Mr Keys …

Thank you to Charlie and Little Tiger for an early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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