The Skullington Family School is a Grave Mistake


Children - Picture Book
35 Pages
Reviewed on 08/22/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

M.J. Evans is an award-winning, best-selling, author of twenty titles. She usually writes novels for pre-teens and adults but has been enjoying creating "The Skullington Family" series of picture books. Each of the books in this series addresses a common family issue.

A former teacher and mother of five, she is a life-long equestrian who loves competing in Dressage and riding in the beautiful Colorado Mountains.

    Book Review

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.

Susan Sewell

A young boy discovers his fears aren't as bad as he'd imagined in the adorable children's picture book The Skullington Family: School is a Grave Mistake by M.J. Evans. Max Skullington is scared to the bone. In a few days, he and his sisters, Tibia and Ulna, will be going to school. While Tibia and Ulna can hardly wait to go back, Max, who has never been, doesn't know what to expect. Poor Max is terrified that the other children will make fun of him, and the work will be too hard. Convinced that going to school will be a grave mistake, Max tries to convince his mother otherwise. Can Max face his fears? Will school be as bad as he imagines?

Prepare for school with the skeleton children in the charming children's story The Skullington Family: School is a Grave Mistake by M.J. Evans. Every child experiences fears or feels anxious about new things in their life, whether it's about trying something different, going to a new place, or simply pushing oneself out of their comfort zone. Max's fear of being different or not enough helps young readers explore their own fears safely while going to school with him. It is a spectacular book with charming illustrations that are spooky enough for the characterization, but at the same time remain encouraging and engaging. The fun characters and the empowering storyline is educational and humorous. This enchanting book will delight young readers who are starting school or are about to advance to a new grade and is highly recommended for one and all.

Rosie Malezer

The Skullington Family: School is a Grave Mistake is a children's book written by M. J. Evans and illustrated by Yana Karpenko. So often, children (and adults too) are terrified of what they do not know through lack of experience. Children withdraw into themselves and hide away, so they do not have to face what they fear, which builds and builds into a giant "monster" created inside their heads. Fearful of what his first day at school will be like, Max Skullington is deathly afraid of what will happen when he arrives. Will his teacher or fellow students be mean or scary to him? Will they want to hurt him? Max ponders the many different scenarios possible for his first day of school and thinks the worst will greet him - but receives a pleasant surprise on his arrival.

I immensely enjoyed The Skullington Family: School is a Grave Mistake. With the clever use of comedy, M. J. Evans has presented the scary bubble in which a child's thoughts reside and the many possible outcomes these thoughts produce, each more frightening than the last. When Max was forced to face his irrational fear after much reassurance from friends and family, he quickly saw how silly that fear was. The teacher and students were all meeting each other for the first time, and a smile is a wonderful first impression to make on anyone. M. J. Evans' delightfully written tale would suit young readers aged 4-12 so that they can learn to allay their worries. The Skullington Family: School is a Grave Mistake has earned a place on the top shelf of my home bookshelf where all quality reading resides.