Written by Elizabeth Loredo, Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1997
Boogie Bones loved to dance. There was nothing he liked more than shaking a leg, cutting a rug, or tripping the light fantastic.
Eek! It’s a: Skeleton!
Boogie Bones loves dancing and wants, more than anything, the chance to compete with other dancers. When he finds a hat with a flyer for the local dance contest, he is thrilled, but also very nervous. He’s never left the graveyard before and is a little frightened of real people. His skeleton friends help him find clothes and they dress him up to hide the fact that he’s a skeleton and he heads to the dance contest. He loses his nerve a little when he sees all the wonderful dancers, but when the band strikes up a tango, he finds himself grabbing a partner and taking to the dance floor. Then his favorite song is played and in his dancing frenzy, his costume falls away, revealing his true self. Everyone is frightened, but one little girl bravely dances with him. He wins the trophy and returns to the graveyard, after the happiest night of his life.
I really enjoyed this book. Author Elizabeth Loredo spins the story at a perfect pace and invites you inside Boogie’s feelings so you get caught up in both his love of dance and his fear of not being accepted. It’s a very satisfying progression to go from him overcoming his own fears of the villagers to him helping them get over their fears of him, especially when it all stems from a love of music and dancing. Illustrator Kevin Hawkes doesn’t downplay Boogie’s creepiness as a skeleton, which brings home the impact of his acceptance later on in the book.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that a shared love of something can make friends of even the most different people.