Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BONE BY BONE by Sara Levine


Comparing Animal Skeletons

by Sara Levine ; illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7613-8464-9
Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

An intriguing combination of questions, answers and playful illustrations presents the comparative anatomy of animals, based on their bones, in an original way, with mixed results.

What if you had no bones at all? What would you look like with bones at the end of your spine? What if your hand bones reached your feet? What animal would you look like? The author, a biologist and veterinarian, has taught children’s environmental-education classes as well as college students. Her “what if” questions are right on target for young learners, connecting them to the subject and extending their imaginations. She covers the differences between vertebrates and invertebrates and some skeletal particulars, but this is more a collection of intriguing points than an organized introduction. Unfortunately, the presentation gets in the way of the information. Questions and explanations appear in both a chunky letterpress and hand-lettered–like sans-serif style; answers are in uppercase; this busy typography won’t help fledgling readers. Spookytooth’s illustrations use a diverse group of children to demonstrate major points. These pictures add humor, and some are instructive as well, though others are confusing. Side-by-side human and animal skeletons have major parts labeled; later X-ray views are less meaningful. For organized information, Steve Jenkins’ Bones: Skeletons and How They Work (2010) is a better choice.

Amusing enough, but there is little intellectual meat on these bones. (more about bones and vertebrates, glossary, further reading) (Informational picture book. 5-9)