Review of Whose Bones Are Those?

Whose Bones Are Those? Whose Bones Are Those?
by Chihiro Takeuchi; illus. by the author
Preschool    Candlewick Studio    40 pp.    g
7/22    978-1-5362-2145-9    $17.99

Colorful, bold type; brightly saturated backgrounds; and simple, clean design set the tone for a concept book that doubles as a surprisingly joyous celebration of bones. A friendly-looking hippo faces its own skeleton on the book cover. Inside, each two-spread animal-guessing-game sequence begins by asking “Whose bones?” followed by a page of jumbled bones from the animal in question. On the next spread the bones have resolved into a full skeleton on the verso; and finally on the recto, the ­living animal, drawn in a simple, cartoonish style, is revealed. The concluding pages of the book are where things get complicated, as viewers are presented with an entire double-page spread of jumbled bones, including six different skulls—a hint at how many skeletons are present. ­Discerning which bones belong together to form each complete skeleton may make children think differently about how scientists learn from materials found in nature. Brief back matter identifies all the skeletons as being from vertebrates and gives facts about some of the animals. Front endpapers consisting of an array of human skeletons with a few ­interspersed oddities resolve on the ­closing endpapers into a parade of children (with a robot and an alien ­hidden among them). A strong choice for ­curious young ­scientists.

From the July/August 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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