The Skullington Family Bone Appetit

Children - Picture Book
36 Pages
Reviewed on 07/09/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Kristine Zimmerman for Readers' Favorite

The Skullington Family: Bone Appetit is the latest in the Skullington Family series by M. J. Evans. The Skullington family is your typical family except for the fact they are all skeletons. In this story, Mrs. Skullington struggles to get her three children, Ulna, Tibia, and Max (short for Maxilla), to eat what she serves. After they refuse to eat breakfast, she makes a delicious funny bone soup for lunch, which they again turn down. Predictably they are hungry in the middle of the day and want snacks. Mrs. Skullington is frustrated by her picky eaters but comes up with a plan to change their ways. She is patient and persistent and, finally, her plan works. Her children are no longer picky eaters.

M. J. Evans has created a very witty and clever story. The Skullington Family: Bone Appetit is filled with all kinds of puns and humor. Teachers and librarians will appreciate all the wordplay in Bone Appetit, which makes this an excellent book to read aloud. Kids will enjoy not only the humor in the story but in the pictures as well. Yana Karpenko has included subtle humor throughout her illustrations, from the bone fence around the house to the dog which is also a skeleton. Interwoven between all the humorous elements are some very useful and concrete suggestions for parents who have picky eaters. A fun little bonus is the “Humerus” Skeleton joke at the end. The Skullington Family: Bone Appetit is a rib-tickling story, perfect for all kids who love to giggle.

Asher Syed

The Skullington Family Bone Appetit, written by M.J. Evans and illustrated by Yana Karpenko, is a children's picture book that revolves around a family of sentient skeletons. The father is a surgeon and the mother is an artist who is also the homemaker, taking on the responsibility of preparing meals and looking after the three Skullington children, Max, Tibia, and Ulna. They have a skeleton dog and a white-picket skeleton fence around a gorgeous suburban house. Seemingly out of nowhere, the Skullington children begin to exhibit picky eating habits, an issue that progresses as the story moves forward, no matter what Mrs. Skullington prepares for them. As a result, Mrs. Skullington starts to make incremental changes in the way that the household views food, ultimately striking a balance between nutritional value and the desires of her little eaters.

The Skullington Family Bone Appetit is a wonderfully creative picture book that was well received by the youngest reader in the household and myself, who was able to read the story along with her. M.J. Evans makes use of skeletal puns that are hilarious, serving up a few laughs as the matriarch uses “a funny bone to make a laughing stock” and sets “out her finest bone china beneath the lovely shinelier.” The exploration of our relationship with food is unique and Evans cleverly installs some of the golden rules that still have a way to go before they are universal, such as not using food as a reward and including children in meal preparation. The illustrations are just divine. Yana Karpenko is an artist of exceptional talent, breathing life into the Skullingtons and allowing a glimpse into the home of an upper-middle-class family. Overall, this is a wonderful read and I would give it a whole bucket of stars if I could.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

If you were a skeleton, what would your favorite food be? Spare ribs? Or chicken soup made with only the funny bone? The Skullington (love the name) family is a family with two parents and three children. The only difference between their family and your family is that the Skullingtons are all skeletons. They still have to eat, though, and the children are fussy eaters. Mrs. Skullington makes delicious meals to entice the youngsters. For breakfast, before going off to school, she serves them hot oatmeal (some would call it porridge) and tells them, “Eat up children. It will stick to your ribs.” Are you laughing yet at the puniness? I am. Then she makes them funny bone soup to make them laugh, which they don’t and they don’t eat it either. Frustrated, Mrs. Skullington has to use her creative thinking to come up with a solution. After all, Mrs. Skullington “is not a numbskull.” Skeleton children have to eat healthily just like the rest of us.

M.J. Evans’ picture book story, The Skullington Family Bone Appetit, is a clever way to teach young readers the importance of eating healthily. Taking a skeleton family and weaving a humorous plot around their antics at mealtime, the author has opened the possibilities of discussing with children what they like to eat, what they want to eat, and what they should eat. Mrs. Skullington has a plan to encourage her children to eat more healthily. Would this plan work in your household? The author has an interesting offer at the end of the book: an opportunity to receive a cookbook to inspire young readers to eat better. The story is told with fun and humor (lots of boney puns) and will certainly both entertain and educate young readers on the importance of healthy eating. Loved it! Beautifully illustrated.