Author: Ventrella, Kim
The day twelve-year-old Stanly finds a finger bone growing into a skeleton in his yard everything changes--his seven-year-old sister Miren adopts the skeleton, which only children can see, as a friend and playmate, and as her health continues to deteriorate Stanly blames the skeleton and tries to drive it away, although it is the only thing that seems to give Miren any joy.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.60
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 192150
Kirkus Reviews (07/01/17)
School Library Journal (08/01/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/10/17)
The Hornbook (00/11/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 08/01/2017 Gr 3–6—Stanly Stanwright is living an ordinary day in his ordinary home when out of the blue he sees a skeleton bone emerge in his backyard. Perplexed and excited, Stanly soon discovers an entire skeleton growing up from the ground. Stanly is determined to take a picture of the skeleton and submit it to the Young Discoverers' Competition. He is certain he will win and then his dad will have to come home. Unfortunately, as fascinated as he is by the skeleton, Stanly has a bigger problem: his younger sister, Marin, is sick. She's spending more time in the hospital and has to rely on an oxygen tank. The presence of the skeleton becomes increasingly foreboding in Stanly's mind. Touches of the extraordinary lift the mood of this somber story. Stanly's narration is honest and authentic as he deals with his father's abandonment of the family, his mother's long work hours, and his sister's declining health. When the physical embodiment of death enters their world, an actual skeleton, Stanly's frayed life feels like it is coming apart. There are no easy answers offered, but Ventrella's comforting storytelling reveals a magical world where a skeleton can grow and where a family's love for each other can provide healing. VERDICT Swinging between anger at his situation and palpable grief that his sister is dying, Stanly and the mysterious skeleton will resonate with young readers. Purchase where stories dealing with illness and grief are needed.—Sarah Wethern, Douglas County Library, Alexandria, MN - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 09/01/2017 What do you do when you find a bone growing in your backyard? Ten months after his dad walked out, 12-year-old Stanly Stanwright is convinced that winning the Young Discoverer’s Contest will bring him back. But, despite his dogged perseverance and the assistance of his OCD-diagnosed best friend Jaxon, getting a picture of the bone (which is quickly growing into a full-body skeleton) proves harder than he originally thought. Not only that, but it’s getting harder and harder to keep the skeleton a secret from his overworked, stressed-out mom and his ever-present, elderly babysitter, Ms. Francine (who prefers to spend her days stuffing Stanly and his sister, Miren, with borscht and cookies). When Miren’s health begins to deteriorate, Stanly is forced to confront the real reason for the skeleton’s appearance. Is it the cause of Miren’s sickness? Or does its presence in their lives hold a much deeper meaning? Quietly powerful, this dark yet whimsical debut novel will offer young readers a sensitive, relatable approach to the issues of terminal illness and death. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.