cover image The Dancing Skeleton

The Dancing Skeleton

Cynthia C. DeFelice. Atheneum Books, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-02-726452-4

When Aaron Kelly dies and is buried, he up and leaves his grave, sits in his rocker and eventually turns into a skeleton. His widow, in the meantime, would like to be courted by a fiddler, but Aaron's presence is a bit discouraging to the would-be lovers. Only when the fiddler plays--and Aaron dances himself to pieces--can the widow go on with her life. But the fiddler is too spooked to carry on with his courting. Crackling good storytelling is ill-served by the choice of Parker as illustrator. His soft watercolors, normally so evocative of the text he's illustrating, work against the comic tone of this particular tale, and reduce the funniness to a maudlin state. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)