HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Book of Bones, by Gabrielle Balkan | Book Review
Book-of-Bones-by-Gabrielle-Balkan-Book-Review

Book of Bones, by Gabrielle Balkan | Book Review

The Children’s Book Review | August 8, 2018

Book of Bones- 10 Record-Breaking AnimalsBook of Bones: 10 Record-Breaking Animals

Written by Gabrielle Balkan

Illustrated by Sam Brewster

 Age Range: 5-10

Publisher: Phaidon (2017)

ISBN: 978-0-7148-7512-5

What to Expect: Animals, Anatomy, Trivia

There are plenty of books that introduce children to animals from the outside: their colors and shapes, the sounds they make, their behaviors, their homes, and so on.  Less usual are books which show children animals from the inside: how are they put together, and what makes them tick? Gabrielle Balkan’s Book of Bones does just that: focusing on the skeletal details of ten different animals, this book introduces children to the fascinating complexity of anatomy, showing them how the structural make-up of animals shapes their behaviors and characteristics.

The most engaging feature of this new volume is the “guess who” format, which introduced readers to each animal’s anatomy through a detective-style question and answer set of superlatives. Readers are invited to guess which animals sports the heaviest bone, the spikiest bone, or the fastest growing bone. With the answer revealed gradually through a variety of fun trivia facts (the Alaskan Moose’s antlers can grow wider than a grand piano, the peregrine falcon’s bones weigh less than its feathers), readers learn to spot the relationship between an animals anatomy and it’s more visible characteristics and behaviors.  The simple, clear, labelled illustrations of skeletons are detailed, making an interesting contrast to the beautiful illustrations of the animals themselves. The volume is engaging, fun, and different – great as a gift or for the classroom.

Available Here: 

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About the Author

Gabrielle Balkan is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, New York. Her books include the acclaimed atlas, The 50 States, a NCSS notable book, and its follow-up, 50 Cities. Gabrielle is a former book buyer, commissioning editor, and director of communications. Her work has been published by Harper Collins, Scholastic, and the Whitney Museum of Art.

About the Illustrator

Sam Brewster is an award-winning freelance illustrator, photographer, and filmmaker based in London. He has a roster of prestigious clients around the world, including The New York Times, Guardian, and Creative Review. This is his first children’s book.

Book of Bones, written by Gabrielle Balkan and illustrated by Sam Brewster, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like Book of Bones by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with , and .

Jen Harrison currently teaches English Composition and Composition Skills at East Stroudsburg University. She completed her PhD in Children's and Victorian Literature at Aberystwyth University in Wales, in the UK. There she also acted as an instructor teaching undergraduate courses on literature and literary theory, as well as further education courses on Children's Literature and Creative Writing. After a brief spell in administration, Jen then trained as a secondary school English teacher, and worked for several years teaching Secondary School English, working independently as a private tutor of English, and working in nursery and primary schools as a substitute teacher. After moving from the UK to the USA in 2016, Jen is very happy to have returned to higher education. Her current research focuses on three primary areas in the field of children’s literature: reader-writer relationships, thing-theory, and the supernatural; she is a reviewer for the International Research Society for the Study of Children’s Literature (IRSCL), as well as the Children's Book Review. Jen also writes an academic blog on Children's Literature, Worrisome Words: http://quantum.esu.edu/faculty/jharrison/. You can also find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.harrison.73594

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