cover image Skelly the Skeleton Girl

Skelly the Skeleton Girl

Jimmy Pickering, . . S&S, $12.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-1192-0

Skelly, a pint-size Day of the Dead girl with pumpkin-orange bobbed hair, finds a misplaced bone and seeks its owner. Pickering's (Bubble Trouble ) mixed-media illustrations picture Skelly in a black dress, white petticoat and buckle shoes, exposing an eerily wide cranium and delicately articulated hands. Readers see her arm bones, ribs and pelvis only when she X-rays herself: “Could it be a bone from me? No, it wasn't mine.” Skelly tickles “the monster under the stairs” to see whether “he still had his funny bone.” She questions tea-sipping ghosts and man-eating plants, and gets a quick entomology lesson (“Simply put, we spiders don't have bones”). In the end, a skeleton dog digging in her garden—moviegoers will recall the pup in Tim Burton's Corpse Bride —happily claims the lost item. Despite the ghoulish subtext, midnight palette and inky backdrops, Pickering keeps the mood breezy; Skelly bats long eyelashes and the dog wags a spiny tail. Like Margery Cuyler and S.D. Schindler's comical Skeleton Hiccups , this stylized tale suggests there's nothing to fear from Halloween haints. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)