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The School Skeleton (A to Z Mysteries) Paperback – January 28, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gr. 2-4. When the skeleton in the school nurse's office disappears, Dink and his friends, Josh and Ruth Rose, try to find the missing bones. At first their only clue is an adult's footprint. Does that mean that one of the teachers at Green Lawn Elementary School is the guilty one? Why does a key suddenly appear with a coded note? The latest in the Stepping Stone easy-to-read A to Z Mysteries series is set in a happy school where the principal, the janitor, the teachers, and the kids are drawn into solving the mystery together. The solution is a bit of a letdown, but Gurney's black-and-white illustrations extend the fun of sleuthing at school, and new readers will enjoy the cozy story, which has just a touch of the shivers. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From the Inside Flap

S is for Skeleton. . . .
It?s a bone-afide mystery at Dink?s school. Some sneaky soul has stolen the skeleton from the nurse?s
office! The principal promises free aquarium tickets to the savvy sleuths who can track down poor Mr. Bones. Soon mysterious clues are showing up all over the school. It?s up to Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose to follow the clues and put those old bones to rest.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 500L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (January 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375813683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375813689
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

author spotlight
"I'm totally convinced that I am a writer today because I loved books as a kid."--Ron Roy

Ron Roy is the author of the popular A to Z Mysteries series, as well as the Capital Mysteries series, and several picture books. He lives in Connecticut.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

"When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?" I have been asked that question many times since my first book, A Thousand Pails of Water, was published in 1978. Now that I've had so many years to think of an answer, I guess I have to say that at age nine I had an inkling that words were going to be a big part of my life.

When I turned nine, I received for my birthday a wonderful gift--a book. It was about King Arthur and his knights. Even though I vividly remember the shiny blue and red cover and the smell of the new paper, I don't remember the author. But I thank her or him every day of my writing life. That writer stirred up something in me that has been bubbling ever since: a love for reading, and the urgent need to put words down on paper.

In spite of my love for reading, writing as a profession never occurred to me until I became an adult. I worked at an odd variety of jobs before I realized that writing was what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life. Over the years, I waited tables, sold hot dogs, and drove a "Tooth" van from which I taught kids how to brush their teeth and floss. One year I traveled across the world to Hong Kong and taught English to Vietnamese adults. I wrote feature stories for a newspaper and designed letterhead for a printer. One happy summer I worked as a camp counselor.

After two years in the navy and more travel, I landed in the freshman class at the University of Connecticut. Naturally, I majored in English literature. More doors opened for me as I read poetry, novels, essays, and did my share of writing. Still, I did not see myself as a writer. I knew that I enjoyed being around kids, so I became a schoolteacher.

And then, finally, in a fourth-grade classroom, the light bulb in my head flickered on and shone brightly. Its message was, I WANT TO WRITE! In my classroom, I was surrounded by kids and their books. I read those books and fell in love with the characters, the authors, the messages. I was hooked, but I never fought. I allowed myself to be reeled in.

My writing life began one evening after reading parts of Charlotte's Web to my class. Home from teaching, I walked into my apartment, dropped my bookbag, and headed for the typewriter (this was before word processing came along!). I wrote my first story that night and sent it to a book publisher the next day. Four weeks later I received my first rejection slip. But by then, I had written more stories, and they, too, were in the mail, soon to appear on editors' desks around the country.

The rejection slips came in, often flooding my mailbox. But I wrote, and I sent my best work along to a long list of publishing houses. Although more rejection slips arrived with each mail, I never felt rejected. My routine was set, and it didn't change: I taught by day and wrote by night. Each evening found me hunched over the typewriter creating characters, settings, and plots. Most weekends I walked on the beach with a dream in my head and a notebook in my back pocket. From those dreams and notes I wrote story after story.

Four years passed. Dozens of book manuscripts had been written, sent, and rejected. Then the day came when one of those "rejection" envelopes turned out to contain not a rejection but an acceptance. "Dear Mr. Roy . . . We are happy to tell you that we would love to publish your book. . ." Those seventeen words changed my life. I was no longer a schoolteacher who tried to write. I was going to be a published author!

Today, with more than 50 children's books behind me, I can think of no other occupation that would make me as happy. As a writer, I get to do all the things I love most: speak to kids, invent stories, travel, and of course, read. My A to Z Mysteries series sends me to classrooms where I listen to and learn so much from the students. I receive letters from young readers across the globe, and I answer every letter. Many of the letters contain suggestions for new plots, titles, characters. One girl asked if I would use her dog in one of my mysteries. What a great idea, I thought, and invented a canine character for an upcoming book.

Children ask about my writing, but they also want to know about my personal life. "Where do you live?" "Do you have any pets?" "What's your favorite food, color, author, TV show?" I'm happy to tell kids about my life as a writer as well as my life as a person. I live in an old farmhouse in Connecticut. My property consists of three acres of large trees, a barn, and a wonderful chicken coop. Recently, I brought a few chickens to live there, and they have become pets. Like E. B. White (my favorite author!) I love the sound and smell and warmth of animals. But since I travel a lot, I can't fill my barn with critters.

"Where do you get your ideas?" is a question that teachers ask often. "Everywhere," I respond, then I give specifics. Ideas come from reading newspapers and books. Ideas come from TV shows and movies and the news on the radio. I bring ideas back from trips, from church, from the grocery store. The letters I receive from kids are often filled with ideas.

The idea for my first published book evolved from a stroll on the beach. While walking, I came upon an overturned horseshoe crab. With legs frantically waving, the crab tried unsuccessfully to flip over onto its stomach. I uprighted the crab, then watched it scurry into the water and swim away. From that little episode came A Thousand Pails of Water, my picture book about a boy and a beached whale. Not really much of a leap--I saved a crab, the boy in my book saved a whale.

I smile when kids ask me if I write every hour of every day. Some writers do, I suppose, but I find that I need a balance. I spend a goodly number of hours each week actually writing but leave plenty of time for playing with friends, going to the movies and on vacations, and taking naps with my cat. I also work on my house, which seems to require a lot of attention.

In many ways, however, I am "writing" even when doing chores. As I paint my barn, I am thinking of story plots. As I weed my garden, I daydream about new characters. When I nap, I dream about the next mystery in my series . . . and the next.

It's a cycle, really. As a child, I loved to read. Reading led me to writing as a career. I share my books--and thus my love for reading and writing--with children. From them I receive warm feelings and some great ideas.

Now when I write my books, one of my hopes is that I can give back at least a part of the joy I have received.

Happy reading!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Raj on October 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
Synopsis: Dink, Josh and Ruth Rose are in class. Mrs. Eagle asks Dink to pass papers to the class to start their math quiz. As Dink passes the paper to Josh, he gets a paper cut and goes to see Miss Shotsky, the school nurse. While he gets a band aid for his finger, Dink notices Mr. Bones, the skeleton missing in the nurse's office. Miss Shotsky is also surprised to notice it missing as she said Mr. Bones was there that morning when she arrived to school. Soon, Mr. Dillon, the school principal makes an announcement in the gym about the missing school skeleton, and offers tickets to the new aquarium as a reward to the class that solves the mystery of the missing skeleton.

Later, as the kids pass the nurse's office, Miss Shotsky invites Dink to give him more band aids. In the office, Ruth Rose notices a footprint left in the dust where the skeleton should have been. They decide to draw the footprint and take measurements, and come to the conclusion that it belongs to one of the adults working in school. Will they be successful in tracking down who took the skeleton, especially after Josh gets a clue to where the skeleton could be located?

Review: I enjoyed reading this book. I found it interesting, suspenseful and funny at the same time and for a while even I had to guess as to why someone would take a school skeleton, but as I was halfway through the book, I figured it would be the kind of situation it turned out to be, but nevertheless it was still fun to read.

I enjoyed how the author placed different clues in the book, such as the footprints and the keys for the reader to figure out who could have taken the skeleton and why.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrea VINE VOICE on May 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
This was a really fun book. It takes place at school. Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose go to a small school. The school nurse's skeleton is missing. Who took it? Why did they take it? How did they take it without anybody seeing it? The principal said that whichever class finds the skeleton will receive tickets to the aquarium. Of course, Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are right on the case. They look for clues. They talk to people. They are determined to solve the mystery of the missing skeleton!

I love these books! Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose solve mysteries all through the alphabet.

These are fun, entertaining, and cozy books to read. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Leilani M. Silva on January 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I chose this rating because I love mysteries and I will not ever stop reading A to Z mystery books because they are the number one mystery books ever i think this is the best one out of the 26 books i haven't read all of them yet but I will soon I read 17 and all i have left is 9 books I don't know when I'm going to read them but it will probably be like next week well I'll start next week and end them in like two to three weeks
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on September 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
I really liked this book because it has lots of clues in it and I liked to find out how they solve the mystery quickly. You should definetly read this book because it is a really cool mystery book and you should even read it again!! You should also stop and think about what person in the school stole the school skeleton. This book is really cool!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on September 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
I really liked this book because I like mysteries and you get to solve the mystery by yourself. You should definetly read this book because it's a cool book and I'm a second grader and I enjoyed this book. If you read it I hope you'll enjoy it too!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By George Hart on March 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
I liked this book because in the first couple of chapters they found all of the clues. The middle of the book they got closer to finding the skeleton. In the end,the kids discover who took the skeleton and all was well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on September 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
I really liked this book because it was funny and interesting. I really enjoy mysteries. You should definetly read it because it's a mystery and they are nice to read because you get to solve them yourself!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By V. L. on November 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My son loved this book. He couldn't wait to find out who was to blame for stealing the skeleton. He enjoyed the suspense and he laughed a lot while reading it. Watching him react to it was worth 5 stars!
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