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The Wishing Bone, and Other Poems Hardcover – March 1, 2003

6 customer reviews

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The Wishing Bone, and Other Poems + The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke (English and German Edition)
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-6-Nine narrative poems full of humor and imagination. From speculations on the wisdom that one might acquire on growing up and growing old to addressing the ultimate folly of having all one's wishes come true, these selections are thoughtful and far-reaching. The language is rich with alliteration, rhyme, similes, and descriptive imagery. Light and fanciful illustrations in ink and watercolor complement the whimsy of the selections. Clean, crisp pages with plenty of space surrounding spot and full-page art, printed on heavy, quality paper, afford an attractive, stylish look. This book is slightly reminiscent of X. J. Kennedy's The Forgetful Wishing Well (Atheneum, 1985; o.p.), another touching, wistful, and often very funny title. Each reading of The Wishing Bone reveals new layers of its poems, leaving readers with much to ponder.
Sally R. Dow, Ossining Public Library, NY
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 3-6. Here's a lovely piece of bookmaking that combines poems that are both whimsical and thought-provoking with delightful ink-and-watercolor pictures that spill across the pages. A young girl can hardly wait until she grows up and becomes wise: "I'll know if needles shut their eyes." When she comes upon a wishing bone, amazing things start happening. For example, a kangaroo is in court, and only the promise of a table of delicious desserts helps the jury reach its conclusion. Interspersed are metaphysical questions, right at a kid's level ("How many inches in a year / What makes a zero disappear?"), to balance the nonsense with ideas to make readers think. The pictures, reminiscent of Wendy Halperin's work, sparkle and will lead children quickly and easily into the words. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 12
  • Hardcover: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 1 edition (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763611182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763611187
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.6 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,258,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen Mitchell was born in Brooklyn in 1943, educated at Amherst, the Sorbonne, and Yale, and de-educated through intensive Zen practice. His many books include the bestselling Tao Te Ching, The Gospel According to Jesus, Bhagavad Gita, The Book of Job, Meetings with the Archangel, Gilgamesh, The Second Book of the Tao, and the Iliad. When he is not writing, he likes to (in no particular order) think about writing, think about not writing, not think about writing, and not think about not writing. He is married to Byron Katie and cowrote two of her bestselling books: Loving What Is and A Thousand Names for Joy. You can read extensive excerpts from all his books on his website,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It all depends on what kinds of poetry you enjoy. If you, say, enjoy the playful imaginings of good old Lewis Carroll (no mentions of his personal life, if you please) then you may believe, "The Wishing Bone and Other Poems" to be Caroll-redux. If, on the other hand, you enjoy straightforward somewhat dull poetry with zippo images or complex wordings, this book is not for you. If you do not enjoy poetry in the least and would much rather read something factual and non-fiction oriented (say, "The Art of War"), this book is also not for you. "The Wishing Bone" is for the child and adult that loves words. Loves the ways words can catch you unawares and make you gasp with pleasure at the perfect symmetry of a subtle verse. If you find yourself reading old children's nonsense poetry thinking, "They don't hardly make `em like that anymore", you're in for a treat. A real tangible delight.

The book contains only nine poems in total. That's a particularly small number when you compare it to the poetic offerings of the Shel Silversteins and Jack Prelutskys of the world. Yet the book doesn't feel brief or stilted. The poems vary in size and complexity. Sometimes they're just as long as a single page. Other times they're lengthy encapsulations of fantastical journeys and magical sights. Mitchell's subjects could be a girl and a white rhinoceros having tea or a talking chimp hunting an elusive purple tiger. The poems contemplate everything from the nature of growing up to questions we adults are often too stodgy to ask (like, "How long must circles spin around?"). The reader will be transported in this book from the banks of sugar-flavored sand to the courtrooms of kangaroos and pigs.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Mitchell is known to adults as an accomplished translator--of Rilke, the Book of Job, and more. Who would have thought that he would show himself to be an original children's poet, too? These nine poems are musical, entertaining, and often profound, emphasizing both the importance and limitations of wish-fulfillment and asking a number of metaphysical questions about faith and the afterlife without ever being preachy or didactic.
Not that these poems are dull or serious. Mitchell's poems and Pohrt's wonderful illustrations depict purple tigers, a trial with prosecuting pig that ends in a dessert orgy, a frog in a velvet chair, and a white rhinoceros. It is a shame that there is so little good poetry being published for children these days. This book is a beacon of excellence in a sea of mediocrity. Perhaps it can lead the way to a children's poetry renaissance.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mother of 2 on April 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Wonderfully illustrated book with brilliant poetry that children and adults can enjoy over and over again. My 5 year old daughter has the Perpetual Number Song committed to memory and she loves the book being read to her, especially The Last of the Purple Tigers. I feel lucky to have stumbled across this book!
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The Wishing Bone, and Other Poems
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