The Garden Bone

Children - Adventure
325 Pages
Reviewed on 04/02/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Michaela Gordoni for Readers' Favorite

The Garden Bone by Maria Magliano is a dinosaur fantasy adventure novel. But I bet you have never read one quite like this. Wenceslao Killean is a not-so-ordinary orphaned 12-year-old boy just trying to make it through life since his parents died, with his Abuela and annoying little brother. Wences comes from a long line of paleontologists but after his parents died on an excavation site, his once burning love for paleontology has waned. That is until he finds something weird in his very own San Francisco garden. A fossil, but it’s … living? Soon Wences finds himself stuck in a crazy world of talking, armor-wearing dinos with his best friend Matteo and their new companion, Jeanine. Oh, and ancient dinosaur magic? It’s real, and it's in Wences’ arm.

I thought that Maria Magliano did a great job writing this story for young people and made Wences’ character pretty relatable to pre-teens. Overall, The Garden Bone has a really unique and interesting storyline, and it is packed with action that is sure to entertain those interested in dinosaurs. I really liked that The Garden Bone had graphics in each chapter. They have the appeal as if an artistically gifted kid drew them. I thought it was exciting and adventurous. I did not expect that the real-world setting would rapidly turn into fantasy, and it suddenly made everything different. Dinosaurs are a common theme for boy-related books but the clever inclusion of Jeanine’s character gives it an appeal to girls as well.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

It’s all in the family, really, isn’t it? After all, both his father and his grandfather could hear the spirits of dinosaurs. But could they bring them back to life? From a single tooth? The Kellean family are considered the ‘royalty’ of paleontologists, but there’s only Wences (Wenceslao for short, named after a Middle Ages Czech duke) and his younger brother, Nico, left. They’ve lived with their aging grandmother since their parents died in a horrific helicopter crash at a dinosaur dig years ago. But things are just getting weirder. The dreams Wences experiences and now the dinosaur tooth he unearths, only to watch it bring back a Carcharodontosaurus (his favorite dinosaur) to live under his deck. And it doesn’t stop there, certainly not while his two friends, Matteo and Jeanine, are around. The adventure, the journey, is one that will ultimately lead them into all kinds of trouble, and hopefully give young Wences some insight into his past and the dreams that have haunted him for years.

Maria Magliano’s Middle Grade fantasy novel, The Garden Bone, is a fast-paced, action-filled adventure that will fascinate the paleontologist (especially the dinosaur-lovers) in all of us. The plot follows Wences’ dreams and adventures and the resurfacing of a fascination for dinosaurs, something he thought he’d given up after witnessing his parents’ horrific accident. The story is action-driven with great character development, focussing on the power of friendship and the importance of family bonds. Descriptive narrative sets the scenes and provides a window into another world, Wences’ world. The dialogue is engaging and realistic; even the occasional Spanish phrases when Wences’ grandmother speaks are understandable and add another appealing dimension to her character. A real page-turner and a fascinating read.

Pikasho Deka

The Garden Bone is a children's action-adventure novel written by Maria Paz Magliano. Raised by his grandma after his parents died in an unfortunate helicopter crash, twelve-year-old Wences Killean inherited his parents' love for paleontology. But after he discovers an ancient dinosaur tooth in his garden, he is taken aback when it turns out to be a fully alive dinosaur named Akheilos. While trying to find a place to hide Akheilos with his friends Matteo and Jeanine, the little group accidentally stumbles off the edge of a canyon and finds themselves transported to an alien world inhabited by intelligent reptilian creatures like Akheilos, who turns out to be the prince of House Eleidon. As Wences and his friends try to find a way home, they inadvertently embroil themselves in a brewing war between Houses Eleidon and Vargyr.

Filled with action, adventure, and humor, The Garden Bone is an entertaining sci-fi/fantasy tale for kids and young adults alike. Maria Paz Magliano weaves a captivating yarn involving talking dinosaurs, loyal friends, and supernatural abilities that captivate you from the first page and refuse to let go until the end. The plot moves at a brisk pace and is an absolute blast to go through. The playful banter between the three friends, Wences, Matteo, and Jeanine, makes for plenty of humorous scenes, and the dynamic they shared was one of my favorite aspects of the book. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. If you love action-packed adventures stories, definitely check it out.

Asher Syed

The Garden Bone by Maria Magliano is a mid-grade children's chapter book that follows our main character, a young boy named Wenceslao, on an unexpected adventure. Wences and his younger brother Nico are raised by their Abuela, their grandmother, who took the boys in when their parents, both paleontologists, died three years prior. But at this moment, Wences is having a terrible, horrible day. He's upset with his dino-obsessed brother Nico for breaking something special and, my goodness, that dream the night before was an absolute doozie. In his own garden, he finds a Carcharodontosaurus fossil that has no business being there, and the discovery is followed by some very weird events. So weird that Wences brings in his friends Matteo and Jeanine, and all end up on an adventure nobody could have anticipated.

The Garden Bone is a wonderfully constructed adventure and Maria Magliano provides all the best literary measurements so both adults and the kids in their care can enjoy it. Each child has their own personalitiy and adds to the story and the adventure. My daughter and I had a good chuckle with Nico pestering his brother in the same way she does to her older sister, starting every excited proclamation with, “Guys guys guys guys guys...” Between the book's narrative are colorful drawings that have a sketch-with-crayon appearance and allow a young reader to see what might not be easy to visualize, such as three of the five moons of “New Gondwana.” The prose is clean and easy to follow, educational but not difficult or preachy, and the adventure is wildly entertaining with some excellent unexpected twists. Very highly recommended.