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

3.9 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"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.

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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: 0374403589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374403584
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.1 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,050,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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2 Comments 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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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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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1 Comment 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Our two children, ages 3 and 6-1/2, absolutely LOVE this story, and we love reading it to them, as it is a very fun book to read aloud. I suppose it contains some edgy elements for a children's book: violence is threatened several times, and Pearl (the darling protagonist/pig) is almost eaten by a fox -- but is this any more violent than, say, The Three Little Pigs? As William Steig says several times in this beautiful, enjoyable tale, "I didn't make the world." That being said, I suppose this story isn't for everyone, and I wouldn't recommend it for children who are especially young or easily scared, but having read a TON of children's book over the last six years, this is one of the few for which I've been moved to write a recommendation. Honestly, just hearing my kids running around exclaiming "Have you no shame, Sir?!" to each other (and everyone else) and then bursting into giggles was worth any talk explaining why foxes want to eat pigs. I'd give it six stars if I could, but then, I didn't make the world.
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