In this rhythmic story, an unsuspecting brother and sister bring a toy skeleton home from the harvest fair. They name it Fred McFee and hang it from a sycamore tree. Soon, eerie things begin to happen. And then on Halloween night, Fred vanishes!
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||8.00(w) x 11.50(h) x 0.13(d)|
|Age Range:||4 - 7 Years|
About the Author
Eve Bunting has written over two hundred books for children, including the Caldecott Medal-winning Smoky Night, illustrated by David Diaz, The Wall, Fly Away Home, and Train to Somewhere. She lives in Southern California.
Kurt Cyrus has hammered out such books as Billions of Bricks, Tadpole Rex, and Oddhopper Opera: A Bug’s Garden of Verses. He has also illustrated books by authors such as Eve Bunting (The Bones of Fred McFee), Lisa Wheeler (Mammoths on the Move), and M.T. Anderson (Whales on Stilts). Kurt lives in a small town in Oregon. Visit him online at www.kurtcyrus.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"Are skeletons real? I'm afraid of skeletons, Mom." When my youngest son was five he was really excited about Halloween...except for one thing...skeletons. He really thought skeletons were very scary. When he was alone in the darkness of his room at bedtime the bogeyman under the bed most often took the shape of a skeleton. It took a junior high school science text and some serious 'splainin' on my part but we eventually put those spooky skeletons into perspective. I told him everybody has a skeleton and without them we wouldn't be able to move and we'd be like big lumpy, bumpy blobs of Jell-o. I told him to make his skeleton dance with my skeleton and picture how the bones move. We did some silly wiggling around and laughing. "My skeleton can hop." "Mine can do the twist." I assured him that skeletons are awesome, important parts of human beings but they can't do anything all by themselves. "It's impossible. Right?" "Right!" We got a cardboard skeleton with brads at the joints that allowed the arms and legs to move and we hung him on our front door. That was the end of skeleton phobia at our house. It depends on how much drama you add with your voice and sound effects when you read the story aloud but The Bones of Fred McFee just might bring skeleton phobia to your home. Most kids will love this book but it might not be for very little ones. Even though the text is pretty simple, the story has a spooky mysterious flavor to it. The publishers say it is intended for the 4-8 year old listeners but I think you will really have to judge the appropriateness based on your own child's development and sensitivity and imagination. It's a simple story but there are some implications that can leave a creepy, "what if" feeling in their wake. Some kids will love that and some will get skeleton phobia! The Bones of Fred McFee is filled with exciting Halloween imagery and the rhyming words of the text, for the most part, flow well, helping the story build to a ghostly ending that leaves children to wonder about those things that "go bump in the night." A brother and sister get a realistic-looking plastic skeleton at the fair and they hang it up in their large old sycamore tree for Halloween decoration. Their imaginations begin to run wild...or is it their imaginations? They have named their skeleton Fred McFee and they suspect that he may be doing more than just his dance of the dead. Why does the old dog, Sam, stay away from the tree where the skeleton is hanging? Why have the hens stopped laying and where has the old rooster gone? A single teal-colored feather looking suspiciously like one from the rooster's tail is seen sticking up, lodged in the hinge of the skeleton's jaw. The kids hear a clickety-clacking sound of his rattling bones and they are afraid to look out of the window. What might they see?! The wind whips through the tree branches and Fred McFee dances faster. Some of the rhymes are a little forced but most add nicely to the atmosphere. "The dark is dropping like a cowl__ There's no star to be seen. What's wrong with Sam? We hear him howl, This night of Halloween." After one particularly windy night Fred McFee himself disappears! Where he went, no one knows for certain. The kids think that maybe that bare spot of ground under the sycamore is his grave! Their imaginations really take off. Maybe he's even there now, waiting, waiting for a dark windy night for lurking in the shadows and dancing his ghoulish dance. When the wind is blowing in the dark and the tree branches are clacking together, Shhhh!....Is that Fred McFee?! I love this book and I think it can be a lot of fun for kids if you make sure that they understand that skeletons aren't really able to dance on their own. Author Eve Bunting has a long, long string of excellent children's books to her credit and she has put in lots of atmosphere that is very accessible to children and will almost give them the sense of being in the story themselves. The child characters in
What an outstanding story! I was riveted from the first line i read and blown away by the fantastic illustrations. The book not only entices you to read more but also keeps you at the edge of your seat. The illustrations are both spine-tickling and beautiful at the same time. My children and I as well as my husband enjoy reading this captivating story and highly recommend it to those who love a good chill and who have an appreciation for phenomenal artwork.