A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Katherine Patterson (Bridge to Terabithia) and Helen Griffith (Grandaddy and Janetta Together).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Juliette Gordon Low (1860â€“1927) founder of the Girl Scouts of America.
- Practice your tricks and read about magicians and illusionists on National Magic Day, created in honor of the great Harry Houdini who died on this day in 1926. Read Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini by Sid Fleischman.
- Itâ€™s UNICEF Day, a tradition started in 1950 to raise money for medicine, clean water, food, education, and emergency relief to children in over 150 countries. UNICEF stands for United Nations International Childrenâ€™s Emergency Fund.
Tonight we celebrate All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, a time of carved pumpkins, parties, or door-to-door canvassing in costume for treats. In my childhood the latter activity was quite casual, and costumes often consisted only of sheets with eye holes. But in more recent years Halloween costumes have become elaborate, often prepared with great care.
Eric Rohmannâ€™s Bone Dog, the book of the day, isnâ€™t a Halloween title per say. Although a scene occurs on Halloween, the book really focuses on other subject matter. In it Eric explored the idea of “how children hold on to the things they lose.”
Gus and his dog Ella have been friends for a long time. â€śOne night Ella said, â€śIâ€™m an old dog and wonâ€™t be around much longer. But no matter what happens, Iâ€™ll always be with youâ€¦A promise made under a full moon cannot be broken.â€ť Dejected after Ella dies, Gus goes about his life without enthusiasmâ€”he doesnâ€™t even get excited about heading out to trick or treat on Halloween.
But on the way home from trick or treating he finds himself attacked by a group of skeletons in the graveyard. Suddenly Ella comes to his defense as a bone dog! Although she does not scare the skeletons, the two of them call up a pack of real dogsâ€”who know exactly what they want from those skeletons. In a very touching ending, Gus asks Ella â€śWill I see you again?â€™
Eric Rohmann has managed to craft a story that is both just a bit scary and also a tearjerker. This is a hard combination to pull off. The book can work as a Halloween story or as a book to reassure youngsters who have lost a beloved pet. As he does in all his books, Eric uses the full page for text and art; he balances compositions of the skeletons running on one double-page spread with that of a lone dog carrying a bone. With a minimum of words he conveys an exciting story and makes readers care for Gus. With the genius that allowed Eric to show a special friendship between two animals in My Friend Rabbit, he showcases that special bond between children and their pets in Bone Dog. The pets of our childhood always do remain with us.
So I hope you have a wonderful All Hallows Eve. I myself will spend it quietly, with my old dog Lady. She makes me appreciate Bone Dog even more than I would otherwise.
Here’s a page from Bone Dog:
Originally posted October 31, 2011. Updated for .