Bone Dog. The cover shows a boy in a skeleton costume with his arm around a skeleton dog. They are sitting on the grass, their backs toward the reader, the skeleton dog wagging his bony tail. Something about that tender moment between a boy and his dog tugged at my heart a bit, and of course, the idea of a boy and a bone dog was intriguing.
I'm a fan of Eric Rohmann. I think he's a fantastic storyteller and artist, so I had high expectations for the book. I was surprised when the story exceeded my expectations. I absolutely loved it.
The plot begins with Ella (a furry brown dog) and Gus (the young boy on the counter) playing. One night, under a full moon, Ella tells Gus that she's old and won't be around much longer but promises that she will always be with him (pretty sad, huh?) Then she seals the deal by saying, "A promise under a full moon cannot be broken." Then the story cuts to a time when Ella is no longer around, and Gus seems to be moving through the motions of life and forcing himself to do things like leaving the house and doing chores even though he doesn't really want to. On Halloween, he doesn't even want to go trick or treating, but he pulls on his skeleton costume and goes anyway. On his way home from trick or treating, Gus meets up with some spooky skeletons in a graveyard, and Ella's fulfills her promise and comes to Gus's rescue.
This book is bittersweet, a bit spooky, and funny all at the same time. And the illustrations are superb and full of emotion. But above all, in just a few pages, Eric Rohmann is able to capture the love between a boy and a dog and tell an exciting story.
It's not often that I experience such a range of emotion in a children's book. Highly recommended.
I nominated this book for the picture book category for the 2011 Cybils. Head on over and vote for your favorite children's and YA books published between October 16, 2010 and October 15, 2011.
Nominations close at midnight (Pacific time) on October 15, 2011.
Publisher: Roaring Book Press, July 2011 | ISBN: 978-1596431508 | Source: Advanced Reader's Edition from Publisher
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