Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Bonaparte Falls Apart by Margery Cuyler and Will Terry

Bonaparte Falls Apart by Margery Cuyler and Will Terry is the story of a skeleton with a unique problem. His bones keep coming apart. He can't pedal a bike, catch a ball or bend over without worrying about losing a bone or two. What should he do?

His friends have all sorts of crazy ideas but none of them work. Franky Stein (that adorable guy on the cover) suggests gluing and screwing Bonaparte's bones together but when he's done Bonaparte can't move. All that work for nothing. Blacky Widow (a spider) tries spinning a web around Bonaparte, but he just ends up in a tangle. The same kind of disaster occurs when his mummy friend tries binding him. Regardless of what his friends come up with, all the work ends up having to be undone, until a solution walks right past them. And, since we're all grown-ups, here, I'm going to give away the ending. It's a dog. Bonaparte teaches a dog to fetch his bones when they fall off.

Here's what I got out of Bonaparte Falls Apart: This is not the Halloween book you might have expected; it's really about friendship and working together to find a solution. Sure, the solution ends up walking right past them, in the end, but Bonaparte's buddies went out of their way to try to help him out. Also, it's an opportunity to teach children a stunning number of bone jokes:

Franky Stein picked it up and set it back in place. "Before school starts, we will bone up on other ideas," he said.

"We will leave no bone unturned," said Blacky Widow. 

"No bones about it!" said Mummicula. 

Recommended - Not just for Halloween. The characters are perfect for the season but the theme of Bonaparte Falls Apart works year-round and nicely keeps the book from being simply a seasonal story that you only feel comfortable pulling out once a year. You'll appreciate that if you've ever bought a book for your kids or students and then realized it's so specific to a particular day that reading it any other time of the year is just . . . awkward. Love the illustrations (which appear to be colored pencil drawings - subtly colored but seriously adorable). Franky Stein is my favorite character - so oddly cute for a Frankenstein character.

Side note: My husband walked in while I was in the middle of writing this review and asked what I was writing about. I summarized the story and told him how it ended. "That's silly!" he said. Well, yeah. That's what kids will love about it, right? Silly is good.

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