In Roberts’ brief debut picture book, a boy in a colorless kingdom discovers music and laughter.
An inquisitive child named Twinkle Bones lives in the “dreary, dark, and sad” Bone Head Kingdom in the sky, where citizens are made of bone and never smile, and where “fun had not yet been invented.” He doesn’t know what the kingdom is missing, but he’s determined to find out and fix it. The answer comes easily in this conflict-free tale, crafted with descriptive word repetition for readers progressing to chapter books. Twinkle Bones wanders into a “dark, dreary, and gray forest,” where he finds a hollow stick and is surprised by the sound it makes when he blows in it. With it, he soon transforms the kingdom into a shining place of music, happiness, and laughter. The dancing citizens’ “clicking, clattering” bones spark and glitter, lighting up the sky with what we on Earth mistakenly assume to be twinkling stars. The eccentric idea of dancing bone people, although a tad macabre, gives this slight narrative a needed creative spark. This imaginative touch, however, doesn’t extend to the merely serviceable full-page illustrations, which depict humanlike characters with white skin and slightly zombielike faces.
A short, simple fairy tale, enlivened by a touch of eccentricity that isn’t reflected in its images.