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Skeleton for Dinner

Albert Whitman and Company
Ill. by Will Terry

Skeleton for Dinner

(Paperback ISBN 9780807574027)

Two witches plan to invite Skeleton for dinner, but when he hears them say, “We must have skeleton for dinner,” he thinks they’re going to eat him and so begins a lively chase.


Bathed in a spooky graveyard glow, Big Witch and Little Witch brew a stew and prepare a list of the guests to invite for dinner. What follows is a kind of Halloween version of Chicken Little, as timid Skeleton misunderstands, believing he’s an ingredient, not a guest. He dashes off to warn two friends—Ghost, a wispy girl, and Ghoul, who resembles Quasimodo. It’s a familiar joke, but Terry’s illustrations give the cast of characters distinctive looks and personalities (they almost resemble rubbery toys). Despite the threat of death by cauldron, neither contributor lets things get too frightening as the story works its way to a happy ending for all. – Publishers Weekly 

Mother and daughter witch want to have skeleton for dinner. Is he on the menu or intended to be a guest? Big Witch and Little Witch are proud of their yummy stew full of delightfully disgusting ingredients, such as "shark fins and snake skins, spider silk and centaur's milk, catfish whiskers and banshee blisters." Little Witch makes a list of the friends she wants to invite for dinner. She writes "Dinner" at the top, with Ghost, Ghoul and Skeleton below it and tacks it to a tree. When Skeleton reads it, he flies into a panic. Veteran Cuyler keeps the text flowing and sets a just-right pace for reading aloud. Poor Skeleton "rat-a-bat-tat[s] down the hill… / and jingle-jangle[s]" off to warn first Ghost and then Ghoul about what he fears the witches are planning. Terry chooses deep blue-greens and dark craggy trees to create the nightscape. Skeleton's cool white and Ghost's translucent wash of white make them glow on the page, whereas the warmer tones used for Ghoul and the bright green of Little Witch provide refreshing contrast. When Little Witch fails to find her friends to tell them about the dinner party, her despair sends Crow flying to the rescue. A poison-ivy bouquet, full bowls of stew and happy friends bring the story to a satisfying close. Make sure to tuck in to this delicious tale. – Kirkus Reviews


Skeleton misunderstands when he overhears Big Witch tell Little Witch, “We must have Skeleton for
dinner!” Convinced he’s on the menu, he runs away, and he warns Ghost and Ghoul that they, too, are in danger. How will Little Witch find them and invite them to enjoy dinner? Cuyler’s brief text is lively and filled with sound effects, while Terry’s dark, Halloween-themed art is balanced by bright colors and decidedly unspooky characters to reassure young readers and listeners. Youngsters will know that Big Witch and Little Witch just want to invite their friends over for dinner, and they will enjoy seeing Skeleton and the others getting scared because of a mistake. This book is made for reading aloud and will be a great addition to a library’s Halloween collection, but it’s also a fun title that children will enjoy at any time of the year. – Booklist


Big Witch and Little Witch decide to “brew a stew.” As the stew simmers, Big Witch—impressed by their tasty concoction—states that they simply “must have Skeleton for dinner.” Skeleton, passing by, misinterprets her statement and fears the worst. What follows is a comedy of errors in which the childlike skeleton attempts to save itself (and its other friends on the invitation list) from being eaten. The occasionally rhyming verse, along with some changes in text size and font, creates a natural rhythm for Halloween-themed read-alouds. – Horn Book

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