cover image Bone Dog

Bone Dog

Eric Rohmann. Roaring Brook, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59643-150-8

Caldecott Medalist Rohmann's (My Friend Rabbit) friendly figures and soft, autumnal colors give this spooky story an overlay of tranquility. Ella is Gus's dog, but she's aging: "I'm an old dog," she tells him, "and I won't be around much longer." Yet she promises to stay near him always, and "a promise made under a full moon cannot be broken." After she dies, Gus, dressed as a skeleton for Halloween, is threatened by a half-dozen ghoulish graveyard skeletons: "A boy!" "And he's alive!" "And you know what that means?" "Bone app%C3%A9tit!!" Ella, now just a dog skeleton, shows up just in time to rescue him. It's an offbeat mixture of humor and sadness: in an arresting image, Gus looks incredibly alone as he stands in the middle of an empty graveyard, clutching his Halloween candy; the skeletons' scariness is tempered by their kooky poses and glib lines. Yet more than the skeletons, it's Gus's grief that's vanquished. Some may find the sight of Ella as a skeleton off-putting; others will find comfort in the idea that a dog's loyalty transcends death. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (July)