Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Sally's Bones

Sally's Bones

MacKenzie Cadenhead
For ages 9 to 11
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2011   ISBN: 978-1402259432

After her mother dies, Sally Simplesmith’s life takes a very decided downward turn. Her father is withdrawn, and she is terribly lonely and quite angry as well. How could her mother leave Sally here all alone?

When her old toddlerhood friend, Viola Vanderperfect, comes back to live in Merryland, Sally dares to hope that she will at last have a real friend, someone she can talk to about her problems. Sally soon finds out that Viola is a truly horrible stuck up little snob. Instead of refriending Sally, Viola does her best to make Sally’s life as miserable as possible.

When her mother lay dying, Sally made a deal with her. Sally would “live every stupid day to the fullest,” and in turn Sally’s mother (dead or alive) would give Sally “whatever I want to make things right.” Sally has done her best keep her promise and it has all been a miserable failure. Now she feels her mother owes her since Sally has kept her side of the deal. Desperately unhappy, Sally goes to her mother’s grave in the cemetery and she tells her mother to “Give. Me. Death.”

What Sally’s mother gives her is a dead dog. Literally. She gives her a little dog who is all bone and very little skin. At first, Sally is appalled, but she soon discovers that the little dog, even though it has no eyes, no flesh, and no fur, is an uncommonly clever and loving little thing. Soon the dog, Bones, is her best friend and steadfast companion.

At last life is starting to look up for Sally, but, of course it does not stay that way for long. Something or someone is out to ruin what little happiness Sally has.

In this decidedly odd and charmingly quirky book, readers will find out that love really can overcome death. In certain situations. It is hard not to feel pity for Sally, who so desperately wants a friend, and who finds one who is so unusual that he gets into trouble almost immediately.

Readers who like tales that are strange, a little dark, but that have a happy ending will truly enjoy this title.