In a watery anatomy lesson, a pirate skeleton gathers up and reconnects its scattered bones.
As it goes, Norman’s rollicking rhymes cleverly incorporate each major bone’s common and formal names: “Collar me a collarbone, / the way-down-where-I-swaller bone, / a handy parrot-hauler bone— / I claim my clavicle.” She tracks her skeletal buccaneer’s sandy-bottom reassembly from skull to “fair phalanges.” Sandwiched between visual keys on the endpapers (in separate pieces in the front and assembled and accoutered in the rear), Kolar scatters simplified but recognizable body parts (plus the requisite peg leg) across sea beds well-populated with colorful tropical fish and other marine denizens. Several of these pitch in to help before the narrative leaves the finished skeleton posing heroically atop a sunken ship with a spyglass clutched in its metacarpals: “There’s treasure to be found here— / I feel it in my bones!” Budding biologists as well as general fans of pirates, poetry, and wordplay will agree—and it makes a fuller (and less freighted) alternative to Bob Barner’s Dem Bones (1996) and other versions of the old teaching spiritual.
Both macabre and cheery—a rare treat. (Picture book. 6-8)