Eric Rohmann's Website
Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann
Bone Dog
Roaring Brook Press, Summer 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59643-150-8
hardcover picture book, 32 pages

Bone Dog

by Eric Rohmann

Ghost dogs and skeletons in a tall tale with a tender heart.

Sam doesn’t feel like doing much after his dog Ella dies. He doesn't really even feel like dressing up for Halloween. But when Sam runs into a bunch of rowdy skeletons, it’s Ella--his very own Bone dog--who comes to his aid, and together they put those skeletons in their place. A book about friendship, loss, and a delightfully spooky Halloween.




Artwork from Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann. All rights reserved.

Artwork from Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann. All rights reserved.

Artwork from Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann. All rights reserved.


Publishers Weekly
* starred review *
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 appétit!!" 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.

School Library Journal
* starred review *
… Sad, spooky, and comforting by turns, this deceptively simple approach to the loss of a pet quickens and gladdens the heart.
—Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library.

The Horn Book
* starred review *
Trick-or-treating past a graveyard dressed as a skeleton is always a risky move. But this Halloween, when real skeletons come out to taunt and possibly eat Gus, he has a secret weapon: the ghost of his dog Ella … The skeletons get all the corny lines, e.g., "You've got guts kid … but not for long!" Yet their silliness doesn't detract from the book's moving scenes, as when Ella, before she dies, sits outside with Gus one night, promising to be with him "no matter what happens" because "a promise made under a full moon cannot be broken." She repeats this vow in the end, and it's not creepy at all to see her skeletal frame seated next to the boy she loves, his hand patting her back, her bony tail wagging.
—Christine M. Heppermann

Kirkus Reviews
* starred review *
Caldecott Medalist Rohmann employs a similar artistic style to his award-winning My Friend Rabbit’s as he depicts a young boy’s journey through grief by way of a spooky graveyard on Halloween.

… Sometimes scary, often funny and ultimately heartwarming, Rohmann’s tale successfully balances a tight text full of tough emotions with clear images of an everlasting friendship.

© by Eric Rohmann. All rights reserved. Site designed by Winding Oak