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Skeleton Man (Skeleton Man #1)

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  2,134 Ratings  ·  345 Reviews
Trust your dreams. Both my parents said that. That's our old way, our Mohawk way. The way of our ancestors. Trust the little voice that speaks to you. That is your speaking. But when those feelings, those dreams, those voices are so confusing, what do you do then?

"Help," I whisper. "Help."
I'm not sure who I'm talking to when I say that, but I hope they're listening.

Ever si
Hardcover, 114 pages
Published August 21st 2001 by HarperCollins (first published August 1st 2001)
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Kaylee Yes, this book is fiction. Skeleton Man is a Native American legend/story

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Paula Soper
Aug 18, 2011 Paula Soper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Note to self: Don't start just any book at 12:30 am! Even though this is definitely a tween book, it still packs plenty of creepy inti 110 pages. I had to finish it in one go just so that I knew the ending and could go to sleep!
Karen the Comic Seller
I've heard Joe Bruchac tell stories of his Abernaki heritage - and this reads just the way the talks. Wonderful story - even though it's aimed at a juvenile audience, no reason they should keep it all to themselves. A good story, well told, is still a good story, no matter the age group. And this is a good story well told.
Also the sequel, Return of the Skeleton Man
Medeia Sharif
Mar 12, 2011 Medeia Sharif rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
There's an old Mohawk tale about a man who was so hungry that he ate himself; limbs, torso, everything until only a skeleton remained. Relishing the taste of flesh, he also ate his family. The only relative who evaded his skeletal hands was his niece.

Molly heard this tale from her father, who grew up on a reservation. She leads a typical life in the city until her parents vanish one day. She is forced to live with her great-uncle, a man she's just met, who mysteriously appears after her parents
Simple but effectively creepy.
Fred Toppel
Oct 18, 2009 Fred Toppel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ssr
When Molly's parents disappear she is put into the custody of her "Uncle". She knows something is amiss when he treats her very differently from everyone else. the uncle is a very small character but at the same time one of the most important.he unintentionally gives molly clues into where her parents disappeared to. She begins to have dreams about the skeleton man, the one whom her dad told stories about. Uncle is very discreet in what he does and where he goes. Can he be the skeleton man that ...more
May 18, 2017 Leah rated it really liked it
What a perfect story to tell late at night, sitting around the fire, in the middle of the woods. I love Molly and her fierce dedication to her beliefs, dreams, instincts. The way she didn't let adults back her down, and I really appreciate that Joseph Bruchac wrote a good relationship between parents and child and also gave Molly an adult ally. It's hard to find a book for kids in which the adults aren't all against the kids and, as a result, the kids are forced into being their own hero. In thi ...more
Sep 15, 2009 Eden rated it it was amazing
Molly is a 13 year old girl who wakes up one morning to find that her parents never came home. Even a few days later they still do not come home. Molly somehow knows that her parents are out there somewhere and they will come back.
When social services comes, Molly tries to tell them that, but they aren't convinced and they place her with a great-uncle, who she has never met or heard of before. Molly doesn't want to go and live with him, but they give her no choice. There is something strange abo
West Region,
Skeleton Man
by Joseph Bruchac

According to Mohawk Indian legend, there was once a lazy old uncle who devoured his own flesh until he was nothing but his skeleton remained. Still hungry for flesh, he devoured the rest of his family as they came home one night. His young niece outwits him and brings the rest of her family back to life.

Flash forward to present-day New York. Sixth grader Molly awakes to find her parents missing since the previous night. She's sure they'll be home any minute, so she s
Jun 10, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this with my seven year old who loves all things creepy. I thought this tale, featuring a brave and resourceful young heroine, was eerie and suspenseful, but my son informs me that it "isn't scary at all." I still think this book is more appropriate for the 9-12 year old crowd.

The story concerns a young, Native American girl who's parents go missing one night. A mysterious uncle shows up to care for the girl but she is certain he is an impostor. As the story moves along she becomes more
Despair Speaking
Sep 24, 2012 Despair Speaking rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot remember much from this book except that I recall I was truly creeped out. I was still in elementary school when I got a copy of this and read it into the night. Molly wasn't a bad lead (I don't recall being annoyed with her) and the dreams added a scary touch that helped explain the story a bit.

Basically, Skeleton Man is about Molly who is suddenly taken in by a great-uncle she never knew existed. Her parents were orphans (if my memory isn't failing me) and they had never mentioned hav
I wonder what kids really want when they ask for "a scary book". Are they thinking something in the horror formula? Psychological thriller? Mysterious Mystery? Because I'm realizing that all three genres could be under the umbrella of "scary story".

Skeleton Man has aspects of all three, but it's definitely not written in a formula. 12 year old Molly narrates the story of being sent to live with an Uncle who is a complete stranger to her after her parents just fail to come home. The behavior and
Jun 17, 2014 Morgan rated it really liked it
I loved this book! It reminded me of Coraline, a quick, Y/A read but incredibly creepy and atmospheric, regardless of your age. I read it all in one sitting during a thunder storm.

While the fantastical elements were disturbing the really creepy stuff were the things that could actually happen: disappearing parents, being taken in by a suspicious "relative", not having anyone believe you when you try to tell them you're in danger... scary stuff!

I also loved the theme of female strength and coura
May 16, 2008 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Matthew by: Serindipity
Shelves: childrensbooks
When was the last time you read a good scary story? If you’re like me, it’s been a while. I like to get creeped out… and this does it.

Caveat: This is a 100 page children’s book. But it is well-written and fun. Think of it as a novelette.

It’s smart. It’s based on a traditional Native American story about a man who cooks and eats his own flesh leaving nothing but bones, then cooks and eats his family, and then attempts to eat his young niece. It’s set in present-day and the heroine is a middle-sc
May 29, 2013 Lindsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Wow! This book was scary! Molly woke up one morning and realized that her parents were gone! Vanished! She has no idea where they've disappeared to and even worse, this creepy old man has claimed her as his niece. There are lots of creepy things about this guy. He never eats and at night he locks her in her room from the outside. On top of it all, Molly is having these dreams about "The Skeleton Man."

Warning: Don't read this before you go to bed!

Also, this book is based on a Native American sto
Oct 13, 2009 Nielson rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I am reading this with the 6th has been good so far! We just finished the book. I was actually really surprised at the ending. I thought it had a really good amount of suspense. I sometimes hating reading all of the detail that the author put in, but the kids still seemed interested. To help set the mood for reading the book we would turn off the lights so that it would be a little darker and spookier. I thought overall it was a great book that kids would really be interested in rea ...more
Judy Desetti
Oct 29, 2014 Judy Desetti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: gr 5 -8
Great book for the Halloween season. Creepy tale of a girl whose parents disappear and she has to go live with an uncle who suddenly shows up to claim her. She doesn't know the uncle and the story develops from there. As usual for Bruchac he brings in a Native American thread to tie into this story. This will be good for reluctant readers. Only 114 pgs and a fast read.

Recommend. I barely had this out of my hands before kids were clamoring for it. I book talked it to a group and now have holds f
Newport Librarians
Molly wakes up one morning to find her parents never came home the night before. Social services turn her over to a mysterious uncle and Molly begins to have dreams about the Skeleton Man, a character in an old Indian story, a character the mysterious uncle closely resembles. Molly has misgivings about the uncle from the first time she sees him. Then her dreams warn her of danger. Her teacher has promised help if only she can find even one shred of evidence. Can she? Will she find it in time to ...more
Emma Rice
Oct 26, 2015 Emma Rice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! At first when I was reading it I was like oh ok this doesn't seem too interesting. But when you get in the middle of the book and at the end... I just wanted to keep on reading and reading and reading! I would recommend this book to anyone who likes mysteries but not really crazy over mysteries. This book had outstanding word choice and very good and descriptive details.
Jan 04, 2008 Brynn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great scary book for grades 6-8. A refreshing idea as well: the main character is Native American but that is not what the story focuses on, it's just who she happens to be.
Siri Livingston
Sep 05, 2016 Siri Livingston rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was sooooo weird and eerie and confusing but perfect if that's what you want.
Daniel Lopez
Oct 02, 2013 Daniel Lopez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 09, 2014 Kristy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was horrified by this book. I read it because my fourth grade daughter's teacher was reading it aloud in class. Here is a copy of the email I sent the principal.

Hi Mrs. Rounds,
Last Thursday when I went to pick up my kids from school my fourth grader got in the car and began to cry (this is very unusual of her). When I inquired what was wrong she said the teacher is reading a scary book and “haunts her.” I thought she must be overreacting and told her to buck up and be brave. Then, later that
Jace C
May 17, 2017 Jace C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
it was weird and scary.
Nov 07, 2016 Noorulhuda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book.Because that the girl try to saved her live from her skeleton uncle .So it kind of fight to save your live.
Feb 21, 2017 Shella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book to teach figurative language, story elements and symbolism. Reluctant readers enjoy this book and can be tailored to multiple reading levels.
Mar 14, 2017 Wingedtrish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Polenth Blake
When Molly's parents disappear, she's sent to live with an uncle she's never seen before. He reminds her of the story of the Skeleton Man, but will anyone believe her?

The story starts after Molly's parents have vanished, but it flashes back to previous events such as her parents not coming home and meeting her uncle. Her uncle reminds her of the old Mohawk story of the Skeleton Man. This is about a man who likes the taste of human flesh, so eats all of his own until he's only a skeleton. Then he
Mar 11, 2017 Paige rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Super quick read and interesting, but it I didn't find it scary (Coraline by Neil Gaiman is creepier/scarier).
Alexis Tenezaca
Nov 04, 2015 Alexis Tenezaca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Have you ever read a book so scary and suspenseful that you need to throw your book? The genre of this book speculative fiction because in the story it has parts that won’t make sense to the real world. I think if anyone wants a short scary book, i think this book is perfect. It has the ability to keep you in suspense and scared.
The setting of this book is in Molly's home and her so called uncle’s house. The main setting of this story is her so called uncle’s house. The only thing that Molly ne
Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac
Harper Collins, 2001
Grades: 4-8, Lexile: 730

Molly wakes up one day to find her parents have disappeared without a trace. At first, she doesn’t know what to do – she assumes they’re coming back, so she tries to carry on like everything is OK, but eventually Social Services takes her in when they realize her parents are missing. A mysterious, strange uncle who she’s never seen before shows up to claim her and take her to live in his creepy old house. This is especiall
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Joseph Bruchac lives with his wife, Carol, in the Adirondack mountain foothills town of Greenfield Center, New York, in the same house where his maternal grandparents raised him. Much of his writing draws on that land and his Abenaki ancestry. Although his American Indian heritage is only one part of an ethnic background that includes Slovak and English blood, those Native roots are the ones by wh ...more
More about Joseph Bruchac...

Other Books in the Series

Skeleton Man (2 books)
  • The Return of Skeleton Man

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