Thursday, October 6, 2011

RIP Read 4: Sally's Bones

Sally Simplesmith is a kid who just doesn't fit in. Her mom is dead, her dad is an absent-minded professor and she's the only one in the 6th grade that is into "death rock". She doesn't fit in and she's pretty much accepted it until a new girl comes to town and decides that Sally doesn't belong anywhere near her -- or any of the other kids at school. Sally is so distraught that she throws herself on her mother's grave and wishes for death. Her wish isn't interpreted quite the way she expects, though, and what she receives instead is a skeletal pup who loves her from almost the first moment they meet. Should Sally keep him secret? What does a dead dog eat? Is Bones the key to Sally's fitting in at school? Sally's Bones is written by MacKenzie Cadenhead and illustrated by the aptly-named T.S. Spookytooth.

Z and I started this book together as an RIP read but, after a few chapters, I ended up making a parental decision to choose something else for him and just finish reading this one on my own. The book is full of mellifluous alliterations and Sally and Bones' friendship is truly heartwarming. Cadenhead has also discovered a way to write different dog barks so that they come out perfectly believable when reading aloud! But there are also some rather bleak and disturbing descriptions of Sally's mother dying in a hospital bed after a lingering illness. There are some shockingly mean girls and Sally's depression is, well, depressing. This wasn't the book for my little second grader but I can absolutely see it being the right book for an older child (middle grade) who is dealing with some of the issues that Sally is. For a kid who has lost a parent, is a victim of bullies at school or maybe just feels like they don't fit in for whatever reason, Sally's story will be familiar and, hopefully, a ray of hope as it does have a happy ending. I'll be donating the book we received for review to Z's school in the hope that the right kid will pick it up at the right time.

Looking for friends in unexpected places,
K and Z


  1. That does sound rather intense for a younger child … but perfect for an older child who is struggling with similar issues. I just love the cover … but I could see it not working for some kids! Great review.

  2. Jenners - I thought the cover was a bit misleading. It looks kind of cute but the story is quite grim. I'm not sure what it should look like instead though. :)