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Funny Bones

Last updated Thursday, October 4, 2018

Author: Duncan Tonatiun
Date of Publication: 2015
ISBN: 1419716476
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Oct. 2018

Synopsis: Funny Bones tells the story of how the amusing calaveras—skeletons performing various everyday or festive activities—came to be. They are the creation of Mexican artist José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada (1852–1913). In a country that was not known for freedom of speech, he first drew political cartoons, much to the amusement of the local population but not the politicians. He continued to draw cartoons throughout much of his life, but he is best known today for his calavera drawings. They have become synonymous with Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival. Juxtaposing his own art with that of Lupe’s, author Duncan Tonatiuh brings to light the remarkable life and work of a man whose art is cherished by many but whose name has remained in obscurity.

Discussion topics:
•  Ask kids if they heard about "Day of the Dead" before?
•  Ask kids if they have seen the movie, "CoCo"?


•  skeleton - an internal or external framework of bone, cartilage, or other rigid material supporting or containing the body of an animal or plant.
•  flamboyant - boldly or brilliantly colored; showy
•  pretentious - inclined to make a showy display of one's wealth, achievements

Craft ideas:
•  Make monster faces out of popsicle sticks. Faces can be drawn on with markers.
•  Make dangling ceiling ghosts out of construction paper.
•  Make bats out of toilet paper rolls with wings made out of construction paper.
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!