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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
The Skullington Family: School is a Grave Mistake, with words by M.J. Evans and art by Yana Karpenko, is the third book in the children's picture book Skullington Family series, preceded by Boney Fingers and Bone Appetit. The story begins with an introduction to the family of five which includes Mom and Dad Skullington, and their three children, Tibia, Ulna, and Max. They live the same way any other nuclear family would except for one small detail that sets them apart: they are a family of skeletons. The girls are excited when school is back in session, but Max, who is starting kindergarten, worries about what it will be like and if the teacher and children will tease or dislike him due to his unique physique.
School is a Grave Mistake carries on the tradition of M.J. Evans and Yana Karpenko's previous Skullington Family books with a charmingly themed and professionally presented story and illustrations, which once are again superb. The story is laced with puns that meld seamlessly into the narrative, with lines like Max's fear of being called “Bone Head” or “Numbskull”, and his request for help to “bone up” on his numbers and letters. The book also has a backmatter that includes a joke by Max and a fun fact on the number of bones in a child's body versus when they are an adult by Mrs. Skullington. All of this is accompanied by freehand artwork that bursts from the pages in warm jewel-toned colors. A particular image that struck me was the depiction of Mrs. Skullington prying Max from his booster seat where the pink, blue, and teal are absolutely stunning against a grey backdrop. School is a Grave Mistake is a story that will no doubt be embraced by young readers with the same enthusiasm that my own children had.