cover image Dem Bones

Dem Bones

Bob Barner, Chronicle Books, Design Inc Higashi/Glaser. Chronicle Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-0827-9

Using a classic African American spiritual as a springboard, Barner dives gleefully into this clever anatomy lesson. Enthusiastic members of a skeleton band cavort across the pages, strumming guitars, blowing horns and otherwise helping to establish a spirited tone while imparting bits of relevant information. Each line from the song is given its own spread; text blocks set into the illustrations give related facts. For the lyric ""Leg bone connected to da knee bone,"" for example, readers learn that the knee joint ""works like a hinge,"" enabling one to ""kick, jump, squat, and dance."" The particular bone in question is always highlighted in red on the skeleton, leaving no room for doubt. Splashed across a series of bright backdrops (Halloween colors predominate), Barner's (Benny's Pennies) cut- and torn-paper collages are geared for tickling the funny bones of the early elementary set. Just about the only thing lacking here is the musical notation for a sing-along. No bones about it, this will be a real boost for those looking to inject a little humor and fun into basic facts about the human body. Ages 2-8. (Oct.)