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The Amazing Bone (Reading Rainbow Books) Paperback – April 1, 1993


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 600L (What's this?)
  • Series: Reading Rainbow Books
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish; Reissue edition (April 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780374403584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374403584
  • ASIN: 0374403589
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 8.7 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,297,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Pearl (a piglet) discovers a talking bone, which had fallen out of a witch's basket...This is a tight mesh of witty storytelling and art, bound to please any audience." --Starred, Booklist

"Steing's inspired language is a miraculous match for his pictures, lovely as well as funny."--Publishers Weekly

"Another Steig tour de force."--School Library Journal

About the Author

William Steig (1907-2003) was a cartoonist, illustrator and author of award-winning books for children, including Shrek!, on which the DreamWorks movies are based. Steig was born in New York City. Every member of his family was involved in the arts, and so it was no surprise when he decided to become an artist. He attended City College and the National Academy of Design. In 1930, Steig’s work began appearing in The New Yorker, where his drawings have been a popular fixture ever since. He published his first children's book, Roland the Minstrel Pig, in 1968.
 
In 1970, Steig received the Caldecott Medal for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. His books for children also include Dominic; The Real Thief; The Amazing Bone, a Caldecott Honor Book; Amos & Boris, a National Book Award finalist; and Abel's Island and Doctor De Soto, both Newbery Honor Books. Steig's books have also received the Christopher Award, the Irma Simonton Black Award, the William Allen White Children's Book Award, and the American Book Award. His European awards include the Premio di Letteratura per l'infanzia (Italy), the Silver Pencil Award (the Netherlands), and the Prix de la Fondation de France. On the basis of his entire body of work, Steig was selected as the 1982 U.S. candidate for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for Illustration and subsequently as the 1988 U.S. candidate for Writing.
 
Stieg also published thirteen collections of drawings for adults, beginning with About People in 1939, and including The Lonely Ones, Male/Female, The Agony in the Kindergarten, and Our Miserable Life.
 
He died in Boston at the age of 95.

More About the Author

William Steig (1907-2003) published his first children's book, Roland the Minstrel Pig, in 1968, and received the Caldecott Medal for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (978-1416902065) in 1970. His works also include The Amazing Bone, a Caldecott Honor Book, and Abel's Island and Doctor De Soto, both Newbery Honor Books. His most recent books published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux are Shrek! (released by DreamWorks as a major motion picture) and Wizzil, illustrated by Quentin Blake. School Library Journal named Shrek! a Best Book of 1990 and said of it, "Steig's inimitable wit and artistic dash have never been sharper or more expertly blended."

Customer Reviews

Book was received in expected condition as agreed upon.
Annette Therrien
The bone is not inanimate - it is a sentient creature with feelings and a sweet disposition.
Andrew Schonbek
Though the book certainly contains creepy possibilities, the story is a good one.
E. R. Bird

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Before talking generally about the book, let me share my reaction that children who are sensitive and easily develop fears may find this book to be too much for them. Read this book first before reading it to your child. The sections in question have robbers threatening to kill Pearl the Pig and a fox planning to do the same thing prior to eating Pearl. I found both situations a little rougher on the emotions than the standard Little Red Riding Hood fare in this regard.
This story was a Caldecott Honor book in 1977 as one of the best illustrated children's stories of that year. The book has many outstanding features. First, the watercolors and ink outlines nicely convey bright, spring colors and create a light mood. Second, the story has a very funny plot device in having a major character be a talking bone. Third, the plot reversals are quite sudden, dramatic, and emotionally laden. This book will make quite an impression on its readers. Fourth, the book raises very nice questions about all kinds of human relations that will keep you and your child talking for years.
Pearl the Pig dawdled in town after school. Her purpose was to watch the grownups doing their work, in order to think about what she might do when she grew up. She watched street cleaners, bakers, and "old guffers" pitching horseshoes.
Then she headed home through the forest. Once there, "she could almost feel herself changing into a flower" as she looked at the beautiful scene around her.
"I hear something."
"So do I," a voice answered. "I'm the bone in the violets near the tree by the rock on your right."
"You talk?"
"In any language . . . ." "And I can imitate any sound there is.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Why hello book of my youth! And may I say, how pleasant it is to read you once again. I know it's been at least 20 years since I was but a wee tot on my mother's knee. She would read "The Amazing Bone" to me time and time again, and I really did find it a delightful story. Now, years and years later, I read it again. There's something about a good Steig book. And to me, this is the most evocative of his stories. Oh, there are people firmly devoted to "Sylvester and the Magic Pebble". And I daresay "Shrek" and "Doctor De Soto" have their fans as well. But give me "The Amazing Bone" over these trifles any day. It's a warm ribald thoroughly satisfying tale of a young pig, a talking bone, and the troubles that ensue.
Pearl is a sweet young pig winding her way home one day. Enjoying the people around her, the clean crisp air, and the softness of the flowered glens, Pearl is a bit like Little Red Riding Hood. She is in no particular hurry to get home. When Pearl stumbles across a magical talking bone, she is delighted. The bone too is quite happy and the two make a delicious pair. When robbers (frightfully dressed in scary masks and carrying guns & knives) attempt to rob little Pearl, the bone successfully drives the bandits off with scary sounds. Some parents find this an inappropriate portion of the tale and will make a very big deal about it. Honestly? It's just a little too weird to seriously freak out a child. I daresay parents are the ones frightened by this part of the book. Not kiddies. Continuing in the story a dapper fox is less gullible than the silly robbers. When he decides to make Pearl his meal, the bone's cries are in vain. It is only through a series of fortunate turns of fate that Pearl and her bone may return safe and sound to her home and her parents.
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59 of 75 people found the following review helpful By "charlie4" on June 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book based on the fact it was a Caldecott Honorable Mention and based on the reviews. I have to say my son loved the book until we got to the part where robbers in Halloween masks jump out of the bushes and put a gun to Pearl's head. Hello? You reviewers out there. My son (3, almost 4) was shocked. He asked a zillion questions about the robbers. Weren't they bad? Did they hurt Pearl? Why (how come) they were robbing her? The next day the questions continued. I bought 10 Caldecott books and we were reading the books right out of the box and I failed to preview the story. Big mistake. This book is charming and wonderful except for the robbery scene which is graphic and extremely disturbing. That scene also seems out of place. In my opinion, it does not belong in a children's book. Parents of young children--beware of this book. Adults, enjoy it.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Schonbek on September 4, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
These words are spoken by a fox, one of the villains of this book, to a talking bone, one of the heroes. The bone is not inanimate - it is a sentient creature with feelings and a sweet disposition.

There is no doubt that Steig is brilliant, but in The Amazing Bone he seems to have lost his bearings. How can a book purportedly written for children include a character that takes pleasure from inflicting pain, and describes it in this graphic way?

The fox also menaces Pearl, a darling piglet who is the other protagonist of the book. Her trouble starts, as it might for any child, as follows: "It was a brilliant day, and instead of going straight home from school, Pearl dawdled".

As she slowly makes her way home through idyllic scenery, Pearl happens upon the talking bone. "'May I take you home with me, wonderful bone?' Pearl asked".

But the happy scene is soon interrupted by three masked robbers who put a gun to the head of the innocent child. With the help of the bone Pearl escapes, only to fall into the clutches of the even more sinister fox. The shocking threat of torture follows as the valiant bone tries to rescue its new friend for a second time.

"When they arrived at the fox's hideaway, he shoved Pearl into and empty room and locked the door". While there are many such scenes in the Little Red Riding Hood genre of fairy tale, there is something particularly violent and dark in Stieg's portrayal. The image of Pearl cowering on the floor of the locked room awaiting her fate is disturbing to the extreme.

Notwithstanding a happy ending it's clear that this book can't be recommended for children, and that it isn't intended for adults.
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