Wednesday, April 6, 2011



Jenkins, Steve. 2010. BONES: SKELETONS AND HOW THEY WORK. Scholastic Press: New York.  ISBN 9780545046510

The book explores animal and human skeletal systems, by comparing shapes and sizes to scale.  Some bones are even portrayed as the actual size.  Jenkins brings bones to life by explaining how bones grow and strengthen.  The jobs of bones are described, and different types of animals' skeletal functions are portrayed with vivid pictures and explanations. 

Critical Analysis
Bones compares the skeletal system of humans and many animals in an artful and accurate way.  Cut-outs are cleverly assembled to make realistic representations of the skeletal systems.  Children will be amazed at the vast amounts of different sized bones.  The proportionately sized skulls from the human down to that of the mouse lemur are intriguing at any age.  Animal adaptations are also shown on a skeletal level, with examples to back up each photo.  The last pages of "Fact, Stories, History, and Science" contain wonderful comparisons, diagrams and answers to age-old questions.  "What is your funny bone?" Stone answers questions like this and many more in the pages of “Bones.”  Witnessing bones in motion will teach children and adults alike of what amazing creatures we are. 

Caldecott Honor Award Winner
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Society of Illustrators Original Art Show

"Bones contains outstanding cut-paper collages of a wide range of animal skeletons." -- Natural History. 2011
"First graders would love examining the pictures of what bones look like in living creatures and comparing their sizes and shapes." -- Science Books & Films. 2010
"From the life-sized human skull grinning out from the brick-red cover to a complete skeleton waving goodbye from a gatefold late in the book, bones are given an entertaining and fresh treatment." -- School Library Journal 2010

  • The Fejee Mermaid duped the public by mixing a monkey with a fish.  There is a photo of this creature on page 58.  Students can practice their creative and artistic skills by mixing other animals and creating new creatures of the unknown.
  • Teachers can help create a "readers theater" by analyzing the people of the exhibits.  Students can be delegated as reporters or chose a person from Barnum’s show.  Afterward, they can practice conducting interviews and then perform for the class.
  • Fleming's official website provides a teacher's guide for each of her books.  She recommends creating a timeline of Barnam's life, KWL activities, or holding a mini-circus for students to show off odd talents!

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