The Amazing Bone

December 29, 2016

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 bone of. She even asks it how it can make noises, and it says, "I don't know. I didn't make the world." So there's no explanation for it. The bone had originally belonged to a witch, but she dropped it and the bone wanted to be free of her so it didn't call out to her. And Pearl the pig befriends the bone, and it scares off some robbers who attack her. Then she and the bone are captured by a fox, who discovers that she has a talking bone and is just like, "Whatever," and is not afraid of it. Then she gets taken home by the fox and the bone realizes out of nowhere that it can cast magic spells, probably since it hung out with a witch for a long time, and then she escapes and takes it home and it becomes part of her family. The end.

So, yeah. Very deus ex machina ending there, coming out of nowhere. We have a bone and talking animals, and the bone is magic and can imitate sounds, and all of a sudden it can cast spells. But it doesn't know how it knows the spells, or what spells it knows. It apparently only casts them in times of great distress.


Be nice to magic talking bones and they'll be nice back.

Publication Year
  • 1976
Age Range
Age Range: 
Number of Pages
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Number of Words on Typical Page
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Do you have an imagination?

These reviews are almost completely humourless and literal, as though reading to, with and by children were some form of computer programming. Steig's use of language is wonderful and the characters are vivid and (metaphorically at least) realistic.

Fair enough.

First off, I didn't say it was bad. I'm just not gushing about it. And I am a computer programmer, so maybe that's it. I'd like to think that some of my reviews have humor, although maybe this one doesn't. I'd also like to think that I have an imagination. Sometimes my reviews (and I doubt I'm alone on this) are influenced by how I'm feeling at the time. But this book is weird. And full of plot holes. Maybe if I had been in a different mood at the time of the review, I would have concentrated on the wonderful language and characters. I don't own the book (I use the local library), so I can't tell you whether I agree with that assessment.

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