Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann.
This is a very sweet and very sad book. Getting through this book the first time was a challenge, but after about the fourth or fifth time I was able to read it without getting choked up.
This is about Ella and Gus. Ella is Gus’s dog and one night under a full moon she tells Gus that she’s an old dog and will not be around much longer, but that she will always be with him. She promises him and tell him that because this promise is made under a full moon, it cannot be broken.
The next scene is Gus sitting all alone on his porch missing his dog. It’s very sad. Gus doesn’t want to do anything now that Ella is gone — but when Halloween comes around he pulls it together enough to go trick or treating. On his way home from trick or treating he cuts through the graveyard (hrm, this never turns out well, does it?) and finds himself surrounded by skeletons. The skeletons think that Gus is just another skeleton, but when they find out that he’s a boy, they lunge at him and ominously say that they are going to disembowel him. Just then Ella comes flying out of the sky as a bone done. At first the other skeletons laugh because they’re not frightened of a bone done. But then Ella and Gus together howl into the night calling other dogs. Real, live dogs come running and chase the skeletons away — because you know — dogs love bones. Ella and Gus get to have a moment where Gus asks her if he’ll get to see her again — and she reminds him that the promise she made to him under a full moon cannot be broken.
It’s really a sweet and lovely book — which is surprising considering it is about a boy’s dog dying and getting harassed by skeletons. It works though, and once I got through reading it once — I was able to read it again and again.
I do edit this book when I read it to my son. At one point a skeleton calls Gus a numbskull and I take that part out. Name calling is one of the deadly sins in our house — so I don’t read anything to him where someone calls anyone else a name. I’m not sure why authors put name calling in a children’s book. I wish they wouldn’t and for this book it isn’t necessary at all. This would be a perfect book without the name calling.
This evening our skeleton fell off our bookshelf and onto me. This skeleton isn’t for Halloween decorations — it’s leftover from when I was in graduate school and it has managed to stay around. My son started talking about the skeleton and suddenly says, ” I’m not a skeleton!” I said — not realizing that he’s quoting Bone Dog yet, “No, but you have a skeleton inside of you. Our bones make up a skeleton.” (I realize he’s two, but you never know what’s going to sink in.) Then he says, “I’m a boy.” He nods his head very seriously. I’m still not getting it and repond, “Yes, you are a boy.” Then when he says again, “But I’m not a skeleton. I’m a boy.” I realize that he’s quoting from Bone Dog. I ask him, “What’s that from?” And he says, “Ahhhh! It is from Bone Dog.” I love it!
Where Obtained: Library.
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