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The Amazing Bone

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  3,244 ratings  ·  236 reviews
Can Pearl, a pig, and her new friend, a small talking bone, outwit a band of robbers and a hungry fox?

The Amazing Bone is a 1976 New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year and Outstanding Book of the Year, a 1977 Caldecott Honor Book, and a 1977 Boston Globe - Horn Book Awards Honor Book for Picture Books.
Paperback, Reading Rainbow Book, 32 pages
Published April 1st 1993 by Square Fish (first published September 1st 1976)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  3,244 ratings  ·  236 reviews

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This is about Pearl the Pig. She is having the best spring afternoon ever. She is enjoying life after school walking all over until she comes to rest in the forest listening to the sounds and looking at the soft spring colors. She finds a bone that talks, it really talks and it’s smart. She and the bone decide to partner and off she goes home. Here the story gets dangerous. 1st, she is attacked by robbers and the bone scares them off. Then, she is captured by a fox and taken home to be eaten. Th ...more
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture
Pearl, a young pig, is wandering around after school, daydreaming and enjoying nature, when she happens to meet... a bone. A friendly, talkative bone who has escaped from a grumpy witch and is looking for a better home. Pearl and the bone quickly make friends, but will friendship be enough to get them safely through the dangerous woods?

“The Amazing Bone” is another classic from William Steig and is also the most dramatic book due to the main character being put into peril in a number of cases. William Steig’s hand-drawn illustrations and his intense yet soothing storytelling makes this book an instant treat to enjoy.

“The Amazing Bone” sets the perfect storyline about the power of friendship and the dangers of the outside world to a child. William Steig dramatically tells how some strangers are dangerous to children by depicti
Luisa Knight
Hmm. I honestly don't know what to think of this story. Perhaps more so, I'm not sure what to *make* of the story! It's incredibly bizarre. Incredibly. If you've read it, what do you think the message is? Or is there just not one?

Ages: 5 - 9

Cleanliness: mentions tobacco juice. The bone previously belonged to a witch and at the end of the story, casts a spell (fairy tale like magic). There are robbers with Halloween masks and they point guns at the main character. Later, the main character gets k
J.M. Hushour
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Kids books, like any kind of literature, can vary widely, but, let's face it, most of them are shit. Then, every once in a while you find one that is supremely challenging to everything that you thought possible in kids' literature and literature and general. Something that tears down assumptions of what is trope and what is not, something that breaks downs the very thin border between surrealism and children's literature, something that in its sheer lunacy transcends the hazy line separating hu ...more
Donna Davis
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children, reviewed
William Steig was an amazing writer who used an outsized vocabulary to create children's books that adults would enjoy reading aloud. The best audience is the gifted child, someone that is still young enough to like a good picture book but that isn't bewildered by text. My favorite Steig book is Dr. DeSoto, which was the "it" book for my elder daughter when she was small, but everything he put his hand to was solid. ...more

Steig is so unique. So unlike anyone else. He may not be riveting in this particular story, but he's always flavourful. How many stories are there about a talking bone, anyway? Squirt liked it. The idea of a talking bone didn't faze him one iota.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am actually here to praise the audio book of "The Amazing Bone" specifically. The book itself is great, but the audio book is really perfect. I would say four and a half stars for the book, but five for the audio book. John Lithgow does the narration and he nails the various voices, especially the bone. Just the best. This is also such a great example of the weirdness of William Steig. "Doctor De Soto" for example, is a really great book but not as delightfully weird as "The Amazing Bone." We ...more
Apr 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
This is the kind of book that William Steig consistently creates better than almost anybody else. It's a picture book, yes, but it's built on a subtly intellectual foundation, and it's a completely told story, smoothly unfolding from beginning to end.

I can certainly see how The Amazing Bone would have received official attention from the Caldecott committee in 1977. The artwork in the book is some of William Steig's finest, coating the pages with rich color and a kind of life that seems to pra
Linda Lipko
Move over Maurice Sendak, Steig could have shown you one or two things about how to frighten a child with the words and illustrations of his book!

Cute little Pink Pig Pearl wanders in the forest on an absolutely perfect day. Finding a talking bone, she is not frightened, but rather is amused and puts the bone in her purse to carry home.

Traveling home she comes upon three nasty mask wearing critters with guns and knives. One image shows the evil masked critter places the gun right next to Pearl's
Haley Elliston
Oct 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: libm-reads
I read this book for a "Gardening and Literature" class I took for my MA degree at the University of Maine. The class itself was really unique in that we discussed our readings while planting a labyrinth garden on University grounds. This particular book was part of our children's lit. reads, and was fun to explore as an adult reader. Ultimately, this story is a very typical fairy tale. It reads like a combination of the Grimm's Fairy Tale "The Singing Bone" and "Little Red Riding Hood" - the pi ...more
Katie Fitzgerald
I have to say I like this quirky little story better than Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. It’s clever and creative, and even though it doesn’t seem to make much sense at first, I grew to love the talking bone as much as Pearl does. The robbers with their masks, guns, and daggers are plenty scary and seem more violent than a lot of imagery in picture books nowadays, but I think kids would be less troubled by it than their parents. It seemed like a bit of a cop-out that the bone just magically kne ...more
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audiobook as bedtime read during banned book week. Jonathan Lithgow did a great narrating job. It was a favorite childhood story, so it was fun to listen as an adult. It holds up well.
Pearl the pig is deeply enjoying a beautiful day on her way home from school when she discovers a magic talking bone. They become immediate friends and Pearl puts the bone in her purse. It helps her foil a gang of robbers and outwit a hungry fox (tho that’s a very near thing) before becoming part
Oct 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a very strange story. We listened to it being narrated on audiocassette by John Lithgow as we followed along with the book, and with his amazing storytelling skills, we were transfixed by the story. After we listened to it, I read it again and realized that it really is a very strange tale. Overall, though, the illustrations are great, the story is entertaining and we really enjoyed the audio version of this book. ...more
While I did enjoy looking at the bright and cheery (for the most part) pictures of this book, I was a little dismayed at this story line. It seemed awfully convenient the way things worked out, and it was terribly random. I'm not sure I'd recommend this book, it was slightly strange and a little bit weird.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Barbra R
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is a story that makes anything seem possible, and any problem solvable. The main character is the epitome of carefree happiness and wonder towards the world, and strangely, the other character is a talking bone that ends up saving the day. The forest setting that brings about an uncaring wolf to eat them is classic, but anything else about the story is not, which gives it a great twist and makes one giggle.
Jan 23, 2009 rated it liked it
This book was kind of weird. I gave it three stars because my son seemed to enjoy it, but personally I felt it deserved only two.

A pig finds a talking bone. Robbers try to steal it from her--the illustration shows them with a gun to her head! Then a fox steals it and attempts to cook and eat the pig, but of course the pig and bone escape. The ending is nothing special.
Patricia A.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is Sofiya (4 years old) - this is an amazing story about a bone who is nice and funny. He became part of Pearl's family because he was amazing. He frightened the robbers that were about to hurt Pearl and he also saved her life from that rude rude fox. He lived very very very happily ever after with Pearl and her family. ...more
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm a sucker for a well-dressed fox and a somewhat daft pig with rad facial expressions. The ending was great, and my kids liked comparing it to other examples of traditional literature. ...more
Jennarae Quesenberry
Feb 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
I hated this book. I know it is older, but it had really unusual situations that I thought were creepy and not suitable for children.
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
This one we really liked. We'll definitely look for more stories by William Steig. ...more
Mel Ann
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very unlikely friendship and a new adventure.
Jun 30, 2014 rated it liked it
surprisingly violent...but "the seventies were a different time" according to Kricket :) ...more
Anya Gupta
Jun 21, 2015 rated it liked it
I like it when the fox first became the size of a rabbit and then became the size of a rat.
Cassandra Gelvin
Dec 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Bones are people-- er, pigs-- too.

This is a weird book. It's a world of anthropomorphic animals. The main character is a young pig lass who is on the way home from school. She hangs out in the forest and says, "I love everything!" And then a voice says, "So do I!" And she says, "Where are you?" because she can't see anyone. It turns out to be a talking bone. That can imitate any sound. And that's pretty much all it does. It's a magic, talking, intelligent bone. It doesn't even say what it's a bo
Haylee Blystone
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: exam-2
This book won the Caldecott Honor. To be honest, this book is kind of weird and I would not recommend it to younger readers. The plot takes a weird turn and has some scenes that might not be suitable for younger readers. Once scene features a gang of robbers that have knifes and guns and another scene has a fox that abducts and wants to kill the main character. There is also a lot of text, which might be harder for younger readers to wade through. I would recommend this book to older children th ...more
Joy H.
Added November 6, 2019. (first published September 1st 1976)
This is a short children's story (13 minutes) narrated by John Lithgow.
It's wonderful! don't miss it!


"The story is about how Pearl the pig is walking home from school, and finds a magic bone on the ground, which
Dec 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: second-exam
As a picture storybook, this book is appropriate for 3rd-5th graders due to the content of guns and kidnapping. The Amazing Bone was awarded the Caldecott Honor Book in 1977. I did not particularly enjoy the story due to the subtle violence in it of robbery (using guns) and kidnapping and wanting to kill the main character.

William Steig's artistic medium was he drew hand-drawn illustrations. From my college class, I believed his style was cartoon-like with his animals. Some pages used panels for
I read this book because it was mentioned in my children's literature textbook. I absolutely loved the art. The characters were expressive and there were lots of details. The story started off with the little girl finding a talking bone, but took a very dark turn. I was really disturbed by the situation that Pearl found herself in, but I didn't know why. It is nothing that Hansel and Gretel didn't face! I couldn't figure out why I was so disturbed, so I read the mention in the textbook again. Th ...more
Alyson Carroll
Sep 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: picture-books
Pearl the pig was sitting in a field enjoying her life when all of a sudden, a bone started talking to her. Pearl and the bone instantly became friends, so she took the bone home. On their way home, a group of robbers tried to steal Pearl's purse with the bone inside. The bone scared them away by talking to them. Later on, a fox approached Pearl and kidnapped her and the bone so he could eat her for dinner. Pearl was very scared. When it was time for the fox to cook her, the bone used his magic ...more
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William Steig was born in New York City in 1907. In a family where every member was involved in the arts, it was not surprising that Steig became an artist.

He published his first children's book, Roland the Minstrel Pig, in 1968, embarking on a new and very different career.

Steig's books reflect his conviction that children want the security of a devoted family and friends. When Sylvester, Farmer

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“Later she sat on the ground in the forest between school and home, and spring was so bright and beautiful, the warm air touched her so tenderly, she could almost feel herself changing into a flower. Her light dress felt like petals.
"I love everything," she heard herself say.
"So do I," a voice answered.
Pearl straightened up and looked around. No one was there.”
More quotes…