Funnybones by Janet & Allan Ahlberg

I was so excited to find a copy of Funnybones in a charity shop in the summer, it was one of the books that I had in the book corner of my first classroom and was very popular among the four and five year olds in my class. My daughter and I have read it several times since we bought it, it’s a great book for a beginner reader and a fun read for Halloween.

The Story: Three skeletons, a big one, a little one and a dog, live in a dark cellar. One night they decide to take their dog for a walk and frighten somebody. As the dog is chasing a stick he bumps into a tree and falls apart so the big skeleton and the little skeleton put him back together before visiting their skeleton friends at the zoo. They still haven’t frightened anybody so the little skeleton suggests that they frighten each other.

Funnybones by Janet and Allan Ahlberg Story SnugFunnybones begins in a dark cellar in a dark house where we are introduced to the three skeletons through a very atmospheric, repetitive text. The story describes their walk and takes them to the park and the zoo, both familiar situations for young children. The text is easy to read and the repetition is great for a beginner reader (the story goes full circle with the repetition on the final page of the story mirroring the first page). The illustrations are colourful on a dark background and have a comic style feel to them with speech bubbles to move the story along. Much of the humour comes from the illustrations. We love the illustrations where the skeletons are putting the dog back together, not only do they put him back incorrectly but when he says ‘Woof’ it comes out all muddled too!

Funnybones is a fun book to introduce children to the concept of having a skeleton and could be used in a My Body classroom topic. Some bone names are introduced in the story when the skeletons sing some of the lyrics of The Skeleton Dance as they put the dog back together. We put our own moveable skeleton puppet together using this Preschool Activities template, we’re still looking for a glow in the dark pen to colour it with so we can hang it in our window for Halloween.

Funnybones Skeleton Puppet Story Snug

The language used in Funnybones can also be incorporated into a literacy lesson. The word ‘dark’ is frequently used in the text and a fun activity is for children to rewrite the first page using their own adjectives then read it aloud to the class. Children could also contribute to a class story or book where they give their ideas on how the skeletons can scare each other and write them using the same sentence structure as in the story – ‘They hid round corners and frightened each other.’

There are several more Funnybones stories that we haven’t read. Have you read any of the other Funnybones stories? Which would you recommend?

Age Range: 3 +

Author: Allan Ahlberg / Illustrator: Janet Ahlberg

If you’re planning a Funnybones party for Halloween Puffin Books have a great idea for a Funnybones costume, a recipe for Funnybones biscuits and Funnybones bunting and party decorations.

40 thoughts on “Funnybones by Janet & Allan Ahlberg

  1. I loved having a collection of Halloween books handy as a kid. This is a new one for me. Thanks for sharing! Hopping over from the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

  2. Hi! Stopping by from the KidLitBlogHop. This sounds like a great book. I have three cousins who have recently started their families. This would be a perfect birthday gift for the one turning 4 next week. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. This is a book I’d forgotten about (I think I read it as a child!!) but I know my children will love it
    Thank you for bringing it to my attention, I’m going to go on the hunt for a second hand one – they’ll love it!

    • I love hunting in charity shops, I’ve found lots of great childhood favourites that I had forgotten about! I hope your children enjoy Funnybones ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hey! Here from KidLit Blog Hop! Looks like a great book pick especially for Halloween I love that you included an activity you and your daughter did. It looks like so much fun!

  5. Janet and Allan Ahlberg just write the best books! Ny daughter is all grown up now, but Each Peach Pear Plum was always a popular favourite, along with Peepo! This sounds as adorable. #readwithme

  6. This is one of my all time favorite books! I found it on the book shelf the other day and realised I had not read it to the children for far too long! It’s been added to next weeks story basket!!

    • They’re such simple stories, I’m glad my daughter enjoyed this one as much as me. The repetition and the inclusion of the song lyrics makes it a great book for her to read independently.

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