Dancing Skeleton

by Cynthia DeFelice
pictures by Robert Andrew Parker
© 1989

The Story

Aaron Kelly is dead but not lamented. He’s so ornery, in fact, that he won’t stay in his coffin but comes home to haunt his widow. How she ultimately gets Aaron back into his grave makes for a funny rather than scary story that will delight children.

A Note from the Author

My interest in old folktales led me to discover a story about a stubborn, ornery dead man who wouldn’t stay dead. I began telling the story to children when I visited schools. Sometimes they’d come up to me afterwards and say how much they liked the story. They wanted to know if it was in a book so they could hear it again. I began to think that was a good idea.
Robert Andrew Parker’s illustrations of Aaron Kelly – as a man and, later, as a skeleton – are hilarious. “OOOOWEEE! AIN’T WE HAVIN’ FUN?”


A New York Times Ten Best Illustrated Books 1989
Winner of Parenting Magazine Reading Magic Award
Named a Best Book of the Year (Library of Congress)


“DeFelice’s experience as a storyteller shows up on every page ….. Robert Andrew Parker’s watercolor illustrations are just right …. The Dancing Skeleton is as close to perfect as these things come.” – School Library Journal *starred review

“In deft line and glowing watercolor, Parker’s illustrations capture both the humor and the delicious, eerie thrill of a memorable, adroitly told story” – Kirkus Review

“A wry tale that is played out equally well through text and illustrations ….. A wonderful story to read aloud – or tell.” – The Horn Book