Annabelle pulled the wagon home again. She had supper, and a bath, and books.
She found a shoebox in her closet and made a little bed with a hand towel and rolled-up socks for a pillow.
“Goodnight, Boney,” she said.
That night, Annabelle dreamed. She dreamed of a deer. And she dreamed of a bear. And she dreamed of a wolf. And they were all running with her through the woods.
While on a walk through the woods, Annabelle, her dad, and their dog, Scoot, find a bone. Fascinated, Annabelle wondered what animal it was from and asked if she could take it home. Her dad agreed, and they brought it home and cleaned it. Once the bone was clean, Annabelle tied a pretty ribbon around it and named it Boney. She brought Boney everywhere with her: to the table at lunch, to the park, while taking a bath, and reading a book. At bedtime, she tucked Boney into its own little box with a towel as a blanket.
That night, Annabelle dreamed she was running through the woods alongside a deer, a bear, and a wolf. When she woke up, she felt sad. Later that day, her friend Lorne asked if she wanted to go to the park. Annabelle didn’t feel like it. Instead, she took Boney into the backyard. Lorne went with them. Annabelle didn’t tell Lorne why she was sad, but she noticed Scoot had dug a hole in the garden. Annabelle brought the bone to the hole and put it in. Lorne helped her carefully push the dirt back in. Annabelle remembered her dream of the deer, the bear, and the wolf, and felt better after burying the bone.
Cary Fagan’s story provokes a lot of thought on emotions and on the idea of death. He leaves much to interpretation, and, with the help of the watercolour and soft coloured pencil illustrations, readers can take cues from character facial expressions and activities. Although Annabelle makes Boney her new plaything, she is also curious about which animal it might have come from, realizing that the animal is no longer alive. Perhaps this is what makes her sad and burying Boney helps her come to terms with it. The flow of the story feels a bit choppy, but it encourages an open discussion about expressing emotions and respect to wildlife.
Julia Pitre is a Children’s Librarian with London Public Library in London, Ontario.