[library-media] Book suggestion

Lanell Rabner lanell.rabner at nebo.edu
Mon Apr 7 15:54:03 MDT 2008

What about Skeleton Man? I've had ESL, resource and 
applied students read it and thoroughly enjoy it.

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: HarperTrophy (August 5, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0064408884
ISBN-13: 978-0064408882

 From Publishers Weekly

According to the gutsy sixth grade narrator of Bruchac's 
(Heart of a Chief; Sacagawea) latest novel, the book draws 
from the traditions of Native American stories, especially 
one about a "skeleton man," for its spine-tingling 
effects. Not long after Molly's parents mysteriously 
disappear one night, her "great-uncle" shows up to claim 
her, with photographs of her family that convince the 
adults around her (but not Molly) that he is a relative. 
In fact, the photos look suspiciously like those that 
belonged to her father, who grew up on a Mohawk 
reservation. Each night, the bony guardian locks her into 
her room, allowing her to attend school during the day. 
Molly relies on the deciphering of her dreams, her 
"warrior-girl" courage and the support of her quirky but 
compassionate teacher to solve the mystery and rescue her 
parents. The eerie figure of the semi-human creature 
pretending to be Molly's uncle is particularly well drawn: 
"His fingers spread out so wide that they look like the 
talons of a giant bird.... His eyes are twin blue flames 
burning from within his skull." The mix of traditional and 
contemporary cultural references adds to the story's 
haunting appeal, and the quick pace and suspense, 
particularly in the last few chapters, will likely hold 
the interest of young readers. Ages 10-14.

 From School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Bruchac weaves an incredibly scary story of a girl 
whose warm, contented family is suddenly torn apart. 
Molly's knowledge of and immersion in her Mohawk heritage 
is something she takes for granted, as are the wisdom and 
strength that come from understanding the traditional 
tales and listening to one's dreams. She sets the stage as 
she tells one of her father's favorite stories about a man 
who is hungry and eats himself and then everyone around 
except for one clever young girl. Molly then discloses 
that her own parents have suddenly disappeared. An eerie, 
stick-thin old man arrives claiming to be her only kin 
using the pictures from her father's wallet. Adults on the 
scene vary from being clueless to well intentioned but 
ineffectual. Brought to skeleton man's house and locked in 
a room every evening, Molly keeps trying to find a way 
out, eventually finding that heeding her dreams, combined 
with some great detective work, does the trick. Better 
than many mystery writers, who make the clues obvious, 
Bruchac makes every word add to the tension right up to 
the final few pages. Details of video cameras and 
computers help to sustain belief in a highly improbable 
plot. The suspense draws readers in and keeps them 
engaged. In the classic horror tradition, Bruchac offers a 
timely tale that will make hearts beat and brows sweat, 
and it has the bonus of a resourceful heroine to put the 
world right again.

Carol A. Edwards, Sonoma County Library, Santa Rosa, CA

- Lanell Rabner
Springville High School
lanell.rabner at nmebo.edu

On Mon, 7 Apr 2008 15:31:35 -0600
  Barbara DenBoer <bdenboer at nsummit.k12.ut.us> wrote:
> I need a book suggestion for my ESL teacher.  She has a 
>group of  Spanish-speaking 8th grade boys that she is 
>working with.  She's  supposed to read Devil's 
>Arithmetic, but she's unsure whether she can  keep them 
>focused on that.  She wants something really suspenseful, 
> maybe a little scary, but not too long -- something that 
>will grab  their interest and keep it.  Does anyone have 
>any suggestions?
> Barbara
> --------
> Barbara Den Boer
> Library Media Teacher
> North Summit High School
> P.O. Box 497
> Coalville, Utah
> (435) 336-5656 ext. 4017
>FAX: (435) 336-0309

Lanell Rabner
Springville High School
1205 East 900 South
Springville, Utah 84663 USA
lanell.rabner at nebo.edu

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