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Bone Dog

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  818 ratings  ·  183 reviews
One of School Library Journal’s Best Picture Books of 2011
One of Horn Book’s Best Picture Books of 2011

Ghost dogs and skeletons in a tall tale with a tender heart from the Caldecott Medal-winning creator of My Friend Rabbit.
 Gus doesn't feel like doing much after his dog Ella dies. He doesn't really even feel like dressing up for Halloween. But when Gus runs into a bunch o
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published July 19th 2011 by Roaring Brook Press
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Mariah Roze
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read this with my students today! It was really good! They really enjoyed it :)
Points for: trying something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, for being Eric Rohmann and drawing awesome dogs, for the parchment overlay on the title page.

Points off for: CREEPING ME OUT. "You've got guts, kid...BUT NOT FOR LONG!" Yikes! I can't imagine a kid who would be comforted by the promise that my dead dog would reappear as a skeleton, even if it was in an hour of need; but maybe I'm lacking in imagination.

A little too weird, I think for preschoolers, but a little two sweetly illustrated for the "
May 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
”A promise made under a full moon cannot be broken.”

Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann had my heart and smile at the title page! I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but this book possesses a brilliant introduction to this heartfelt story about the loss of a pet. I adore stroke-of-genius book designs!

This is a tale told on Halloween night filled with skeletons, laughs, loyalty, and shivers. The pages hold a warm, but crisp autumn feel with a lively dancing skeleton energy that pulled me right into Gus and
Stacy Fetters
Aug 16, 2016 rated it liked it
"You've got guts kid... but not for long."
It's rough when your best friend dies and you make promises that you can't break under a bright moon.
This is too doom and gloom for kids nowadays. When I was a kid, this would of been great. Kids today would be quaking in their little boots and crying home to no one.
Whats the behind you? *points* *eyes go huge*
What a frakking Puss!
Aug 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
AHHHHHHHHH! too creepy for this lady. Who knew the My Friend Rabbit guy could scare the fruit salad out of me?
Aug 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sweet yet creepy this book is a wonderful book for Halloween....

The author takes you into the life of a little boy who is getting ready to lose his beloved pooch who is very wise. A touching story of friendship this will be one book that is easy to read while holding a bit of a poetic twist to the words.

At the same time the author has fun with the choosing of his words while drawing a beautiful picture such as with "the clouds swallowed the moon". At other parts of the books he draws upon pun
Sep 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann is an unusual but effective and compelling story about the loss of a pet, friendship, and a slightly spooky Halloween story with a humorous twist.

Before Sam's beloved dog dies she promises, by the full moon, that she'll "always be with you," adding that a promise made under a full moon cannot be broken.

Sam doesn't feel like doing much after his dog Ella dies, not even wanting to dress up for Halloween, but he does anyway. Yet when Sam runs into a group of rowdy skeleto
Megan (ReadingRover)
This book is about a boy named Gus who's dog Ella passes away. Before she does she tells him that no matter what happens she will always be with him and a promise made under a full moon cannot be broken. Afterwards Gus is lonely and doesn't want to do much of anything. He doesn't really want to go out on Halloween but he does anyway and on his way home he goes through a graveyard and is surrounded by some skeletons. They taunt Gus and begin to close in until a bone dog comes to save him. The dog ...more
Oct 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
So I picked this up for my 3-year-old for Halloween, thinking it would be a fun book for the spirit of the holiday. (She's a huge dog lover.)I was both surprised and moved to learn the premise--a boy loses his dog, only to have her "rescue" him when he needs it most. It's a sweet story, not only because it reminds us of how meaningful it is to have a good friend (furry or not), but because it reminds us of the spirit of hope and enduring love.

I was particularly affected as I am dealing with end
Aug 08, 2011 rated it liked it
I knew nothing about this book ahead of time, but I like Eric Rohmann, so I added it to my list. Gotta be honest, it's a little on the creepy side. Particularly when a gang of skeletons crawls out of the ground and tries to make a meal out of the human boy...and then his dead dog shows up to save the day. The story sort of works (hence the 3 star rating, although I'm leaning toward a 2) and the illustrations are great of course, but I'm not 100% fond of the lesson that, as long as your dog promi ...more
Adrienne Pettinelli
A picture book about a boy whose dog comes back from the dead to save him from a group of hungry skeletons. I love Rohmann's art on a normal day, but I especially love how he incorporates comics-style elements in spreads like the one that depicts Gus's depression after Ella dies. I also enjoy the way he plays around with the normal progression of the movement of the illustrations from left-to-right, especially when those skeletons run off the left side of the page. The skeletons' faces are fanta ...more
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
There are so many good books that are simply an original twist on a favorite old theme, premise or formula. This one is pretty original in concept and execution. I came across it on a Halloween display, but for those of you who like to recognize the Day of the Dead, this might be the perfect book to do that with. It's a book that addresses grief and loss with a little bit of creepy playfulness. Rohmann's art is so warm and inviting that it definitely helps to mitigate the scarier parts. There ar ...more
After Gus's dog Ella dies, he doesn't feel like doing much. And even though he didn't really want to go out on Halloween, he still put on his costume and went trick-or-treating. Gus soon finds himself in a bit of trouble, unexpectedly Ella comes to his rescue.

I know what it is like to lose a pet so this book got me. I thought it was such a sweet story. I really enjoyed it. I'd give it three and a half stars.
Sharon Lawler
When his dog died, Gus didn't feel like doing much of anything, but he reluctantly went trick or treating on Halloween. This is a sweet story, tucked into the tall tale format, and it is perfect for the season.
Aug 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved the unique premise of this story. Many others have commented on how this book is "too scary" for little kids, but I remember reading some pretty creepy books as a kid, and this one would've been a favorite. But then, I've always been drawn to the darker side of literature....
Aug 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a whole new type of Halloween book. It shows the pain of losing a pet and how strong the bond between a boy and his dog is. The illustrations are great and I could not help smiling at the end.
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Bone Dog is the touching, funny, and slightly morbid story of an old dog who makes her boy, Gus a promise to always be with him, and after "going away," fulfils that promise on the following Halloween, when Gus finds himself in trouble.
Jan 14, 2012 rated it liked it
There's not much I can add to others' reviews. A sweet commentary on friendship and loss, with just the right dash of sentimentality.
Lisa Nagel
Sep 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
Beautifully illustrated, but I agree with some reviewers, kind of creepy and just a bit strange..
mary dewley
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
One night Ella said, "I'm an old dog and won't be around much longer. But no matter what happens, I'll always be with you." Almost everyone has a lost a pet at one time or another. It takes time to heal. For Gus, he no longer has the drive to do anything because he misses his pet so much. He doesn't even get excited about Halloween.

What at first appears to be a story about the grieving process, transforms into a "Burtonesque" tale in the same vein as "Frankenweenie." On the way home from trick-
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bone Dog is a wonderful and occasionally frightening story about the love between a boy and his dog. In Bone Dog, the boy, Gus, does not want to leave his house or do his chores because he is upset after his old dog Ella dies, but on Halloween he gets dressed up and goes trick-or-treating anyways. While out getting candy Gus is harassed by skeletons and his incredible dog Ella comes to his rescue as a skeleton dog.
This story shows that love has no bounds and helps children understand that althou
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was trying to find a book for story hour that would be a good fit for Halloween with great pictures and story. Bone Dog was a surprise. The story is simple and sweet: our hero's dog tells him she is going to have to go away soon (she's a really old dog). But, she tells him she will always be with him and that a promise made under a full moon is always kept.

When he is tormented by spooky skeletons on Halloween our doggy heroine saves the day, though she is but bones herself.

Sweet and uncomplic
Benjamin Smith
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it
The story is quite abrupt and rushed, but I like the illustrations that accompany it. In particular the page of the dogs chasing from right to left, it felt as though they were running back through the book. this led nicely to the page with the promise under a full moon, as the start and end mirror one another.

It is a nice way story to use when handling loss of pets, encouraging children to understand that even though they are gone, they will always be with them.
Julie C
Oct 29, 2018 rated it liked it
In this picture book, Gus' dog Ella passes away. When Gus stumbles into some trouble, Ella the skeleton dog is there to help! Their relationship goes beyond the physical world. I could see this book being useful for parents, as a Halloween bedtime story or as a serious story if a child loses a pet. Though the concept of this book is somewhat peculiar at first, the plot becomes softer and more approachable with multiple reads.
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Someone with an actual kid needs to try this one out because I suspect the people who are saying it's too creepy for kids think that kids should only read sunshine happy rainbow stories. But maybe I'm wrong. Either way, I loved it- I've always loved spooky stories, though, even as a kid.
Seema Rao
A halloween-style tale of a little boy who gets to see his beloved pup even after he is gone to heaven. The illustrations have the feel of polychrome linocuts. Be warned; a gentle child might have questions about death with this one.
Molly Cluff (Library!)
This one was a little spooky--with skeletons in the graveyard rising up and threatening to eat you, oh my! I liked the story though, and it would be fun to howl with the kids during storytime when they are calling the dogs!
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A boy's dog promises to always be with him, promises made under a full moon cannot be broken. It gets a little creepy when the skeletons surround Gus, but turns heartwarming when Ella returns to save the day. Love the overlay for the title page.
Assuming the concept of a kid trick-or-treating and walking through a graveyard at night won't freak out your audience, this is a cute story of friendship between a boy and his dog that extends beyond the grave. Pictures are awesome.
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A promise made under the moon cannot be broken... indeed.
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Eric Rohmann won the Caldecott Medal for My Friend Rabbit, and a Caldecott Honor for Time Flies. He is also the author and illustrator of Bone Dog, Clara and Asha, A Kitten Tale, and The Cinder-Eyed Cats, among other books for children. He has illustrated many other books, including Last Song, based on a poem by James Guthrie, and has created book jackets for a number of novels, including His Dark ...more
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