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Cover image for The bone man : a Native American Modoc tale
The bone man : a Native American Modoc tale

1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion Books, ©1997.
Physical Description:
1 volume (various pagings) : color illustrations ; 21 cm
Nulwee confronts the frightening Bone Man. Will he destroy him or will Bone Man win?
Reading Level:
Lexile: 530.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.5 0.5 27693.
Added Author:


Call Number
J 398.2 Simms

On Order



On the day that you were born, Kokolimalayas, the Bone Man, drank the river dry and devoured all the people except you and me. When you are old enough to be a warrior, you will bring the waters back and people will live here once again.Ever since he was a young boy, Nulwee has been told the frightening story of the Bone Man by his Grandmother. She has always warned him that if he was to wake the enormous skeletal creature, that he would then have to defeat him in battle to save their village. Nulwee lives in dread of that moment. How will a small boy be able to destroy the fearless Bone Man?

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-5‘McCurdy's stark scratchboard illustrations bring an appropriate, near-grotesque atmosphere to this Modoc monster story. Against a backdrop of a mostly black field, brisk lines streaked with subdued earthy tones deftly fashion both a malevolent creature and a likable young protagonist. Since his birth, Nulwee has been repeatedly told by his grandmother that one day he must kill the Bone Man. This huge skeletal creature who now lies asleep had, in an evil rage, drunk the river dry and devoured all of the people. Then one day, Nulwee unwittingly awakes the Bone Man, whose daily demands for food increase his strength and power. Finally, taunted beyond endurance, the boy gathers his courage and, remembering that the Bone Man's heart is in his little finger, carefully aims his arrow and destroys the evil creature. Author and artist notes give helpful background information about this rite-of-passage story. The monster element will spark children's imaginations, making this a good tale to use beyond Native American studies.‘Barbara Elleman, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

(Younger) A folklike story set in China tells of Mi Fei, an artist who skillfully paints the stories of gods and heroes on paper scrolls while living simply in his village, surrounded by loving neighbors. When alarming news comes that a great dragon has awakened from its hundred-years' sleep and is destroying the countryside, Mi Fei, at the villagers' behest, takes his scrolls and paints and journeys to the dragon's mountain. There, he encounters the fiery breath and lashing tail of the terrifying creature and learns that before the dragon can return to his slumber, someone must perform three tasks, or be devoured. Mi Fei is frightened, but clever, and he uses his beloved scrolls and his love for the people of his village to successfully complete the tasks. In the end, the gigantic dragon fades away until all that remains is a small paper version of himself. In an extraordinary feat of artistry, Sabuda uses the triple-page gate-fold illustrations both to relate the story in the style of Chinese scrolls and to capture the drama of the confrontation between the gentle artist and the awe-inspiring dragon. Each picture is cut from painted tissue paper created by Sabuda and placed on a background of handmade Japanese paper. The combination of the ever-increasing size of the dragon (climaxing in a picture of his teeth framing an entire spread) and the cleverness of Mi Fei creates a strong tale with plenty of action for the story-hour audience. h.b.z. Bob Graham Queenie, One of the Family; illus. by the author (Preschool, Younger) This warm family story begins on the opening endpapers as a bantam hen stands at the edge of a soft blue lake. Baby Caitlin and her mom and dad, walking in the countryside, soon spot the hen floundering in the lake, and Dad leaps in for a daring rescue. They warm the hen and bring her home, and "that might have been the end of the story...but it wasn't!" The hen, dubbed Queenie, soon becomes one of the family, taking over the dog's basket and witnessing Caitlin's first steps. But Caitlin's mom knows Queenie has another home, so the whole family sets off to return her to a nearby farm. "That might have been the end of the story...but it wasn't." Queenie returns each morning to lay a perfect brown egg in Bruno's basket, just right for Caitlin's breakfast or for baking a birthday cake. When a new baby arrives and Caitlin forgets to collect the eggs, Bruno hatches a litter of chicks. The immensely appealing animals and people are depicted in gentle watercolors with loose, comfortable lines. Th (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Gr. 2^-4. Simms' coming-of-age story, in picture-book format, focuses on the struggles of Nulwee, a young Modoc Indian, who must both accept and fulfill his grandmother's prediction of his heroic destiny. Nulwee's challenge is to confront the Bone Man, and by defeating the monster, he is able to bring the gift of life-giving rain back to the land. As depicted in McCurdy's scratchboard illustrations, Nulwee seems similar in age to traditional picture-book readers, but his predicament demands courage befitting someone older, someone ready to face a horrific, people-eating monster. The Bone Man may scare younger readers, especially as he appears in the double-page chase scene, but his daunting appearance may make his downfall at the hands of someone so young seem even better. Use this for oral storytelling with older students, so as not to prejudice them with McCurdy's youthful depiction of Nulwee. Both the author and illustrator supply notes. --Karen Morgan