Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
THE DANCING SKELETON Cynthia C. DeFelice, illus. by Robert Andrew Parker. S&S/Aladdin, $5.99 ISBN 0-689-80453-9. PW praised the "crackling good storytelling" in this tale of a widow who tries to silence her husband's ghost when a fiddler comes courting. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
A tad macabre, this folktale tells of a mean and ornery chap, one Aaron Kelley, who refuses to admit he is indeed dead. Written by a storyteller, it begs to be read aloud, words tripping over the page, sounds and syllables evoking the rat-ta-tat tapping of Aaron's bones clacking, determined to keep on dancing.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-6-- ``Aaron Kelly was dead,'' the story begins, ``. . . And, to tell you the truth, nobody much cared.'' For Aaron was ornery and mean, and everyone, especially his wife, was glad to see him go. But back from the graveyard Aaron returns, and soon his skeleton sits in the rocking chair ``just a-creakin' and a-crackin' and a-grinnin'.'' There's not much his poor widow can do, at least not until the best fiddler in town comes to call. Readers and listeners alike are sure to respond to this folktale. DeFelice's experience as a storyteller shows up on every page. Bursting with vitality, her rhythmic prose captures the vocabulary, tone, the very cadences typical of the oral tradition. ``Crickety-crack, down and back! Old Aaron went a-hoppin', his dry bones a-poppin'.'' Robert Andrew Parker's watercolor illustrations are just right. Done in shades of soft yellow, orange, tan, gray, and black, they manage to heighten the absurdity of the story plus hint at its underlying sinister theme. The Dancing Skeleton is as close to perfection as these things come. --Ellen D. Warwick, Robbins Lib . , Arlington, MA