Lisa Lopez reviewing:
The Skeleton Tree is a middle grades book perfect for reluctant readers by debut author Kim Ventrella. Chapters are short making it an excellent choice for reading clubs and classroom reads.
Stanly is dealing with a ton of problems: his parents are recently divorced, his mother works too much, and his younger sister has a terminal illness. There is comic relief in interactions with their caregiver who is from Kyrgyzstan.
At one of his sister's many doctor appointments, Stanly reads about The Young Discoverer's Prize. He is excited because he thinks he can win with a photo of a weird growth on the tree in his back yard. It appears that the tree is growing bones! Stanly can save his whole family. With the prize money in hand, his archeologist dad will come back home and Mom won't have to work too many jobs. His sister will get more attention and the caregiver from Kyrgyzstan won't have to visit again.
When Stanly's best friend Jaxon takes of photo of the tree, the kids can't believe the bone aren't visible. No one can see the skeleton but kids, and they can't see it in photos. Just what is happening to the tree and why?
Ventrella mixes pre-teen angst, real-life drama, mystery and the supernatural in The Skeleton Tree. This is an angel-of death spin done well for middle grades.
240 pages 9781338042702 Recommended grades 3-7 (Ages 8-12)
Recommended by: Lisa Lopez, Library Media Specialist, Texas USA
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The day twelve-year-old Stanly finds a finger bone growing into a skeleton in his yard everything changes--his seven-year-old sister Miren adopts the skeleton, which only children can see, as a friend and playmate, and as her health continues to deteriorate Stanly blames the skeleton and tries to drive it away, although it is the only thing that seems to give Miren any joy.--from the publisher
229 pages 9781338042702 Ages 8-12