Bonaparte Falls Apart

by Margery Cuyler (Author)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

Readers who love stories about friendship, school, and little monsters will love this clever and humorous picture book about a skeleton who is falling to pieces and needs help pulling himself together. Perfect for Halloween! Bonaparte is having a tough time. It's hard for this young skeleton to just hang loose when he can't keep hold of himself.

When he plays catch, his throwing arm literally takes a flyer. Eating lunch can be a real jaw-dropping occasion. How can he start school when he has so many screws loose? Luckily, Bonaparte hit the bone-anza when it came to his friends. Franky Stein, Black Widow, and Mummicula all have some boneheaded ideas to help pull him together. But will it be enough to boost his confidence and get him ready for the first day of school?

Kirkus Reviews

"[A]n entertaining spin on back-to-school jitters." —Kirkus Review

Publishers Weekly

The duo behind Skeleton for Dinner returns with the story of Bonaparte, a young skeleton who "was falling to pieces, and this really shook him up." With Bonaparte's limbs detaching at inopportune moments, his friends devise plans to help him keep it together. But Franky Stein's glue-and-screws approach renders Bonaparte immobile, Blacky Widow's efforts get Bonaparte tangled up in her web, and Mummicula's snug wrap leaves Bonaparte unable to see. The eventual solution: a puglike puppy, whose bone-retrieving skills are just what the cadaver ordered. Cuyler's readaloud-friendly narration is loaded with bone puns and makes good use of repetition and rhyme ("So Mummicula wrapped and strapped and strapped and wrapped"), and Terry creates an impish monster cast in moody scenes textured with intricate cross-hatching. With pratfalls aplenty, it's an amusing reminder that small accommodations and the support of friends can help any kid succeed. Ages 3-7. Author's agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. (Aug.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2--Whenever he engages in even the mildest of activities, Bonaparte, a skeleton boy sporting a red baseball cap, loses an appendage. Adding to his distress about living with missing parts, the boy worries that classmates will make fun of him when he starts school. His monster friends try to help. Franky Stein glues and screws him together, but then Bonaparte can't move. Blacky Widow spins a web around him, but that just traps him in tangles. When Mummicula wraps him up, Bonaparte can't see. Nothing works until his pals see a dog run by with a bone in his mouth, and hit on the idea of training him to retrieve Bonaparte's bones. The dog, named Mandible by his new owner, turns out to be a fetching champ. Now whether it's on the ball field or in science class, Bonaparte is a huge hit at school. Wordplay such as the monster and dog names and Bonaparte's declaration that his companions are "bone-a-fide-friends" enliven the text. Terry's illustrations, executed in a muted palette and filled with cross-hatching, appear on white ground. His monsters are kid-friendly renderings with large, googly eyes. Several pictures contain humorous touches as well: furniture covered in a web pattern, bushes that appear as grinning fishlike creatures, a pumpkin house, and teeth flying across the cafeteria. VERDICT A read-aloud choice that will resonate with youngsters experiencing their own fears of starting school. This tale would make a welcome addition to a fun Halloween storytime as well.--Marianne Saccardi, Children's Literature Consultant, Cambridge, MA

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

[A] great choice for little kids who want the fun but not the spookiness of [Halloween]. -The Bulletin

Margery Cuyler

Margery Cuyler is the author of many popular books for young readers, including the That's Good! That's Bad! series and From Here to There. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Bob Kolar has written and illustrated several picture books, including AlphaOops, Racer Dogs, and Hello, Fire Truck. He lives in Lee's Summit, Missouri, with his family.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication date
August 20, 2017
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV052000 - Juvenile Fiction | Monsters
Library of Congress categories
JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Friendship
JUVENILE FICTION / Humorous Stories
First day of school

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