Bones by Steve Jenkins

62689009Lynn:   The books we test on our focus group come from a variety of sources.  Some arrive from generous publishers, some I buy and some I borrow.  So when the boys ask if this is a book we can keep, I know we’ve got a winner.  They were asking that on the very first page of Bones (Scholastic 2010).  And no wonder!  Steve Jenkins’ books are always fascinating but this one seems especially well designed for younger readers with its clean uncluttered design.  An opening page shows a small single bone and asks, “Where do think this bone belongs?”  The page turn reveals that it is a single finger bone, one of the 27 that make up the hand and from that point even the offer of chocolate chip cookies wouldn’t have lured the boys from the book.  The book goes on to explore various sections of skeletons from feet to rib cages.  Favorite elements include the intriguing foldout pages, and comparisons of  tyrannosaurus and human feet and a human and a lemur skull.  One of the most fascinating factors for the focus group was the information on scale.  Some bones were shown actual size and while others were shown at varying fractions and they wanted to check that sentence each time we turned the page.  The text is also clear and easy to read and understand and the chatty humor is appealing to a 2nd grade sense of humor 😉  End pages provide some fascinating bone-related information that extends the book.  Guess what is going to be wrapped up and below the tree this holiday for the boys?

Cindy: Even my middle schoolers are fascinated by bones. One of the most popular displays I’ve ever done is sharing a collection of small animal skeletons. I borrowed it from a local collector who processes her own from animals she finds dead in the wild. I love the animal and anatomy facts that are included here with the skeletons and the four-page fold out spread of the two meter long “small” python with its almost 200 ribs is just fabulous–it is reproduced in actual size. Another fold-out shows the complete human skeleton…the pages that hide the fold out show the unassembled parts…all 206 of them.  Some final facts about skeletons show a blue whale model and inform the reader that the skull of a blue whale is the size of a station wagon! We have a local museum with a 76-foot whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling and it is a popular attraction with young and old. This book will be a winner with young and old as well. And, Lynn, I’ll take those chocolate chip cookies that the boys don’t want…

nonfiction_mondayThanks to this Simply Science for hosting this week’s Nonfiction Monday blog round up.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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