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Dem Bones

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  437 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Shoulder bone connected to da neck bone
Neck bone connected to da head bone
Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones
Colorful torn paper collages bring to life this classic African American spiritual. The frolicking skeletons will captivate children and adults while they sing along with this well-known, catchy song. Accompanied by interesting, informative "bone facts" this book ma
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Chronicle Books (first published January 1st 1996)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  437 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Dem Bones takes the traditional African American spiritual and turns it into a lighthearted anatomy lesson. Adults can chose whether to merely read/sing the traditional text or to add the short fact sections for additional information. My students are beginning a unit on human bodies and we're planning to spend some time thinking about bones and skeletons. This book will be a fun resource to support our other work. While I don't expect my students (four and five year olds) to remember much of ...more
Feb 06, 2013 rated it liked it
I love singing this song to my dog, my home's resident expert on bones. ...more
Mama Bibliosoph
Most of us are familiar with "Dem Bones" as a childhood song that is great for learning about the parts of the body, but you may not know that it was originally an African American spiritual inspired by the prophet Ezekiel's visit to the "Valley of Dry Bones."

This adaptation by Bob Barner has sidebars with technical information about the parts of the human skeleton that I find a little much for a picture book, but they are easily skipped over. Some may also find the illustrations a little wonky
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I don't read children's books, but suffered a long wait at a bakery in Denver where Barner's book was glaring at me from a shelf. I decided to take a peek and found myself digesting the pages, partly to pass the time, but also partly to admire the technical detail Barner has integrated into the lovingly illustrated take on the classic "Dem Bones." Skeletons rock out on each page like a New Orleans band, while blurbs quietly explain the purpose and origin of major bones. The clash between simplic ...more
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a mixture of poetry and informational text. It has the text for the song "Dem Dry Bones," which according to the copyright page is an "African American spiritual," and each page has factual details about each bone or set of bones. I love the illustrations of this book as I can imagine my daughter picking it up because she is obsessed with anything and everything that looks like "Halloween." I know my daughter would enjoy the song aspect and she would also learn something about our s ...more
Alison Reads
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-6, science
I appreciate this book because it balances entertainment with factual information - which isn't easy! This would be a fitting introductory book regarding the skeleton for preschoolers. My son enjoys the song and the fun dancing skeletons. He also likes learning about the human body and the additional details about the bones themselves and their functions. I appreciate that it manages to keep things accessible for my preschooler. I did have to google how to pronounce "coccyx" - guess its been a w ...more
Nov 29, 2020 added it
Shelves: songs
1. 1996 Publishers Weekly, 1997 Black-Eyed Susan Award (Nominee)
2. K-3 Grade
3. Through out this book is a song that goes from the toe bone to the head bone and singing all the connecting bones in between. For certain bones there are informative notes about the scientific names and fun facts about that specific bone.
4. This book is full of fun colorful skeleton illustrations that draws the attention of younger children. The book also contains a fun, catchy song that can be used to help remember
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-books
Kid (5 years old) loves spooky books. It soon Halloween. Saw this book with Skelton’s. We love it. The art is attractive. Kid actually asked questions about technique after reading the books the song is fun and familiar. The clincher for us was the body facts. I wasn’t expecting those and was pleasantly surprised. Others suggested the anatomy lessons were over the top. Totally disagree. Each page, I asked if he wanted to learn more about the bones and the answer was always yes. Kids are like spo ...more
Ali Book&Seaglasshunter
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pb-read-2020
Just kind of weird to me. There’s the song that everyone is pretty familiar with (leg bones connected to the knee bone, etc). It also includes factual information about the bones. The song doesn’t include any of the arm bones, or the ribs. Therefore there’s no factual information about those either. It just feels odd to leave out so much. I also think the song and the facts don’t really match in terms of age appropriateness. Finally, my 4 year old was very creeped out and scared of the skeletons ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it liked it
The old bones song that we all grow up hearing is the basis for this book. If one were so inclined, singing it to a youngster would be easy and the dancing skeleton illustrations would be entertaining. I liked the labelled skeleton at the end for quick reference and the fact that the bones being discussed were highlighted on each picture. As a general skeleton reference for young readers, it does the job. The end says that there are 450 bones at birth, but all the reputable sources I found menti ...more
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: d-songs
With its fun rhyming scheme, this book was enjoyable to read and has large, captivating, and colorful images. Dem Bones is a well-known spiritual song and Bob Barner is able to use that influence and create a book to help students learn about bone structure in a simple way. With easy to read text, students will be engaged in learning about the human bone structure. This book is appropriate for third grade. A science lesson can also obviously be done with this book but in class, this can also hel ...more
Sophie Klockow
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ed-438
Summary: This book perfectly correlates with the song Dem Bones
Connections: This reminds me of the song and almost all kids love singing songs as they are catchy
How you would use it: I would use this in science when talking about anatomy to make it fun and help children remember it
Subject heading:
Human skeleton--Juvenile literature.
Bones--Juvenile literature.
Dolores Stratford
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book about bones, with the classic song of this-bone-connected-to with additional descriptions of each bone.
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This song is spiritual and dates back to at least the 1920s. The illustrations are quirky, and there's information about the skeleton scattered throughout the text in information boxes. It's easy to sing the song and skip the physiology for storytime if needs be. ...more
Raquel Schmitt
Great book to teach second to third grade. It goes into detail about the different titles of bones, where they are located, and purpose. Very catchy and great illustrations. Could be counted as a Halloween book as well since it is skeleton themed.
Oct 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dem Bones (Unknown Binding)
by Bob Barner
yes this book has the song Dem bones, but also has an explanation and description of all the bones in the song with interesting facts.
Used as a Halloween book for Kindergarten
Heather Jo
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: meggie-list
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A picture book version of the "bone song".

I was surprised to learn that the Dem Bones or Dry Bones song is actually a spiritual African American song.
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
CUte book for a parent teaching a very young child about bones.
Jill Simmons
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it
A bit of a whimsical look at all the bones in the human body from an African spiritual.
Cara Byrne
Apr 15, 2020 rated it liked it
A recommended book as part of the Scholastic Learn at Home 1st and 2nd grade program.
Lee Felker
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perfect for body lesson

This book was great for a body lesson with my three year old. I paired it with the dem bones song on YouTube.
I highly recommend.
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fun picture book of the song we all know. The illustrations set it apart, and it will be a great addition to the kindergarten body unit.
Aidan Doyle
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
best book ever hands down i love the part when it say dem bones
Sherry Scheline
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
WONDERFUL!!!! Great book for the season, but wonderful for anytime. Simple understanding of bones and very informative. The illustrations are great.
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Megan McReynolds
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: el230a
1. Title: Dem Bones
2. Rating: 4 stars
3. Review: I love that the book contains a song aspect that is apparent to the reader. Additionally, the added feature of information about the bones is both intriguing and informative. I think this book would be a great tool for learning, singing, and movement- maybe even around Halloween!
Oct 08, 2011 rated it really liked it

Illustrated with skeletons playing musical instruments, each bone from the toe bone to the head bone, is mentioned. The text dances across the page in a way that seems to flow like music. This African spiritual was originally written about the resurrection of the Christian believer, but today is used in many classrooms as a means to teach the anatomy of the skeleton.

Dem Bones by Bob Barner could be used in the classroom to teach about both African spirituals as a music form and to teach about th
Diressa Belcher
"Dem Bones," is a friendly twist on an old Negro spiritual. In this book children are famlirized with the classic song about how bones are connected to each other. The book teaches cool facts about the bones listed. This book is a perfect blend between science and language arts.

In terms of literacy this book may be used to describe author's purpose. This book has two purposes: entertain and to teach.

This book may be used for vocabulary development. Students will be introuduced to the description
Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a fun, although slightly creepy way to learn about how our bones are connected on our skeletons. The rhyming song is a catchy African-American spiritual and the illustrations are humorous. Though not specifically about Halloween, it would be a great time to read this story.

We enjoyed watching the pages animated to the song as sung by Raul Malo on a Scholastic Storybook Treasures DVD. It included seven other sing-along songs with animations of the illustrated books. It was a great way to
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Bob Barner has been drawing since he was three years old. He graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design, then moved to Boston where he was an art director at several advertising agencies and design studios. He was hired to help comic strip creator Al Capp draw Li'l Abner and studied with Milton Glaser at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He lives with his wife, Cathie, in San Franc ...more

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