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Skeleton Tree

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  515 ratings  ·  144 reviews
"When Stanley Stanwright finds a bone poking out of the earth in his back garden, he is determined to take a picture of it and send it to the Young Discoverer's Competition, thinking it will help bring his dad back home. But the bone begins to grow, reaching up out of the ground until it turns into a skeleton - a skeleton with an unusual interest in his unwell younger sist ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 26th 2017 by Scholastic Press
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Kim Ventrella SKELETON TREE is recommended for ages 8-12. Of course, I LOVE reading middle grade books, and so I hope adults will enjoy it, too!!!

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Average rating 3.85  · 
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Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, ebook, z2017
Yeah, I'm bawling... Holy crap this book was so beautiful and heartbreaking. It may be a children's book but it's definitely a book that can be enjoyed by adults and teens too, in my opinion.

The best thing about the book is the fact that it's told from a 12 year old's point of view. Ventrella really did a fantastic job with Stanley, he really sounded like a naïve 12 year old boy who was losing his innocence because of situations he couldn't understand at the beginning. It sort of reminded me of
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get to read an early version of THE SKELETON TREE and I was immediately charmed by this beautiful, amazing story. Kim Ventrella is a talented writer who created an extraordinary novel. I'm looking forward to more great things from her. Highly recommended! ...more
Scott Fillner
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The ones you hold dear never leave you." Just one of the many lines in this beautiful debut novel that will stick with me.

Kim Venttrella has written a story about care, loss, family, and mysterious forces that connect it all. She has developed strong characters to help us learn deep lessons, and reflect up our lives and our relationships with others.

I cannot wait for others to read this novel this fall.
Molly Dettmann
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I was intrigued about the premise of a boy finding a finger bone in his backyard, and got a lot more in this bittersweet story about love and loss. I enjoyed it, but in a heart wrenching way. I highly recommend this for upper elementary/middle school readers and anyone who loves a quirky story with heart.
Carlie Sorosiak
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was incredibly privileged to read an early version of The Skeleton Tree, and all I can say is: this is middle grade writing at its best. Warm, heartfelt - it had me choking back tears. Truly a gorgeous, unique book. I urge everyone to put this on their TBR pile for 2017.
Jun 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
Note: ARC received via Amazon Vine.

I had to think long and hard about Skeleton Tree, but after talking over the issues with a trusted friend, I have opted to tell you to avoid this book. Ventrella's writing, from a technical standpoint, is totally on point for the target age group. Her constructions make the book flow very well and make this a quick adult read while also being something the middle grade crowd can devour. But...

The issue I have is the issues the book deals with and the way they a
Mar 10, 2020 rated it liked it
While this book didn't have the gravitas that I crave in middle grade books (Forget Me Not, The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster etc.), it did make me tear up toward the end, which I was not expecting, especially given the light-hearted tone that pervaded the rest of the book (naming a main character Stanley Stanwright should ring a bell).

I liked the relationship between Stanley and his best friend and Stanley and his caregiver. I didn't like Stanl
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this although with a theme of death you try not to get too attached. The brother 12 yr old Stanly is the main character and his little sister, Miren is ill.
The Mother works hard and Ms Francine looks after them as their Dad went to work somewhere else and has not been heard of for 10 months.
A bone finger gets Stanly's attention, it seems to move. Over the week he brings his friend over to see and they try to document the skeleton uncovering itself for a competition, where Stanly is su
Wendy MacKnight
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-reads
My heart - what a beautiful novel. Stanly has many challenges - a sick younger sister, a MIA father, strange bones protruding from the ground underneath a tree in the back yard, and a stressed and unhappy mother. But all is not what it appears to be.... this story took my heart from page one and kept it right through the end. A beautiful story that could easily become a classic!
McCall Hoyle
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can't wait to share this one with the middle school kids I know and teach. <3 ...more
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you @kidlitexchange for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own

Kim Ventrella has shared a beautiful story as her debut novel. This story follows Stanley, his very sick sister, Miren, and their discovery of a skeleton growing in the backyard. This book was captivating, intriguing, mysterious and absolutely heartbreaking. It tackles the issues of death, loss, fear and acceptance all in a very unique way. My eyes definitely got watery towards the end
Nov 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David L.
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Travel a bumpy road with twelve-year-old Stanly. You’ll meet a little sister who is sick, an over-worked mother, a nanny from the old country, a friend with OCD, and a chomping zombie inside his head. You’ll even encounter a skeleton that grows bigger and bigger in the backyard. It’s a trip worth taking, but you may not get to the end of the journey unscathed.
S.F. Henson
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was excited for this book the moment I read the description, but I had no idea how amazing it would be. Nor how heartbreaking. I simply adored the characters and the imagery. Ventrella does a fantastic job of painting vivid scenes with her words. I absolutely recommend this book to everyone, but especially for any children who are dealing with loss. Phenomenal.
Ms. Yingling
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Stanly's life is difficult-- his father has moved out, and his mother is trying hard to make ends meet as a clerk at Walgreen's. Stanly and his sister Miren are fortunate to have Ms. Francine, who is from Kyrgyzstan, babysit for them. Miren has been very ill with some sort of respiratory problem. One day, Stanly finds a bone growing in the yard. It looks suspiciously like a skeleton, and as the days pass, the bone does grow into a full skeleton that Mire
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think this book should qualify as this generation's Bridge to Terabithia. It deals with a weighty subject in a light hearted way that keeps the reader engaged and turning pages til the end. As an adult reader the foreshadowing was slapping you in the face, but I think it’s subtle enough that it will be a surprise to many kids. This would fall in with books like I Kill Giants and A Monster Calls, except instead of a destructive kid, this has a kid who is all heart and just wants his sister to g ...more
To his astonishment, Stanly Stanwright finds a bone in the back yard of his home, and even more astonishing, the bone grows over time. When it forms into a full skeleton, Stanley's little sister Miren takes it as her playmate. At first, Stanly thinks if he takes a photograph of the bone and his father sees it, he will return to the family, but then he realizes that adults can't see the skeleton, Princy, or its bones. While he is happy that Miren has found a new friend, particularly because she i ...more
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was incredibly unprepared for how emotional this novel was actually going to make me! I thought it was going to be a spook-tastic romp through a good old ghost story, but man was I wrong. Instead you get a heartfelt tale of a young boy just trying to stay afloat amidst his parent's divorce, his sick sister the family's lack of money. When he spots the chance to win a cash prize to help out his family and possibly bring his father back, he jumps on it. But what starts as a money making scheme s ...more
Anna Priemaza
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
There is a skeleton growing in Stanly's backyard, like a tree. At first, Stanly thinks it's cool. So does his little sister, Miren, who gets to spend lots of time with the skeleton, since she's often home sick from school.

But the more time Miren spends with the skeleton, the sicker she gets, and Stanly just knows the skeleton’s to blame. But how do you stop a skeleton?

SKELETON TREE is equal parts creepy and gorgeous and emotional. Reading it feels sort of like walking through a beautiful graveya
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Live the life you have, because one day. Poof! You won't have it any more."

Wow, this book made me cry. It's children book but I think everyone can read it. A story about love, caring and sadly loss.
Suzanne Rooyen
Sweet read that will definitely appeal to young MG readers, just wish the ending hadn't felt so rushed. ...more
Db Cooper
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Check out The Seventh Seal, a movie by Ingmar Bergman. Very influential film. Lots of death tropes in movies/books were inspired by this movie. Several aspects of this story reminded me on the movie.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
S.M. Boren
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from #kidlitexchange to read in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Skeleton Tree by Kim Ventrella was a shocking read. I was all settled in for a haunted, creepy middle grade read and the more I read the more real life lessons came alive in a wonderfully arranged story. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟Stanly finds a finger in the backyard and wants to keep it a secret to win a prize that he hopes will make his Dad come back home. Two days after finding the finger his sister, Miren ...more
Jo-ann Walsh
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thank you to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this middle grade book. All opinions are my own.
If you are looking for a spooky Halloween story for your kiddos, this is not the book for you. Stanly Stanwright is amazed and a bit scared when he finds a bone sticking out of the ground in his backyard. What’s more disturbing is that the bone seems to be growing up from into a skeleton! Stanley is determined to get a picture of the growing skeleton so he can enter it into a contest
Eve beinguniquebooks
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Stanly Stanwright finds a bone in his garden, needing a photo for a competition he takes a shot of it, only for the bone to change to point at him when he later looks back at the shot and later disappear completely!

He has a sister called Miren who is seven and ill with bad lungs and she relies a lot on the use of an oxygen tank. As well as his friend, Jaxon having OCD which Stanly handles both situations for each person really well, caring for his sister and also joining in and being patient wit
Alexandra Ott
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is such a beautiful, bittersweet story. It's a thoughtful, well-written exploration of loss that's perfect for a middle grade audience. Highly recommend! ...more
Megan Hahn
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thank you @kidlitexchange for a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. I wasn't expecting this book. Somehow I thought it was going to be a spooky, light read. Kim Ventrella explores much deeper themes than a Halloween scare.
Stanly Stanwright finds a finger bone in his backyard, pointing straight up. This is his opportunity to make a great discovery. A discovery that will win the Young Explorers award and impress his absent father to return to their family. Though there is something
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-and-kidlit
I received an ARC of this book, and I was excited to read it because of good reviews I'd read. I'm really surprised by the reviews, because I would not recommend or purchase this book. The writing is fine, and the pacing is good; I definitely think this author has ability and potential, and I'd give her next book a chance. But the magical realism here simply did not work for me. Unlike, say, Skellig in Skellig, or the Monster in A Monster Calls, I just didn't really see/feel the psychological co ...more
Mar 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: covers-i-fancy
As an adult, I still love to read books aimed for young kids; brilliant writing does not have an age!

That being said, it seems like a lot of children's authors do not grasp that kids understand quite a lot and that they shouldn't be underestimated. This book was a hot mess, which is especially sad because I thought it had a lot of potential. My gripe was basically with everything but the idea. Everything else, like the characters, pacing, execution? So disappointing. Though this book is aimed a
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KIM VENTRELLA is the author of several books for middle grade readers, including THE SECRET LIFE OF SAM (HarperCollins), HELLO FUTURE ME, BONE HOLLOW and SKELETON TREE (Scholastic). Her works explore difficult topics with big doses of humor, whimsy and hope. Her most recent middle grade novel, THE SECRET LIFE OF SAM, was named one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2020. BONE HOLLOW was chosen as a ...more

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