Wednesday, July 24, 2024


by Mark Warner
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Buy This Book * More books by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

This is the first book in the FUNNYBONES series and introduces the skeletons – a big skeleton, a little skeleton and a dog skeleton.

They live in a dark, dark cellar of a dark, dark house on a dark, dark hill and so the word repetition continues through this lighthearted story for early readers. The skeletons venture out of their cellar one night to find someone to scare, but everyone is in bed, so they amuse themselves by scaring each other and playing with the skeleton animals that live in the zoo.

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • The word ‘dark’ is used lots of times in this story! Can you think of any synonyms / antonyms?
  • There are lots of books in the Funnybones series. Can you think of a story for another one?
  • The story includes lots of speech. Can you use this to create a play script and perform it for others?
  • When the dog’s skeleton is put back together, the letters in the word ‘WOOF’ get mixed up. Can you choose a word (e.g. ‘skeleton’ or ‘funny bones’) and make anagrams, or find other words using the letters in them?
  • Create a character profile for each of the skeletons. What are their real names? What are their personalities like? What are their favourite things?
  • There are lots of examples of onomatopoeia in the story (e.g. woof, miaow, boo). Can you think of any more?
  • Watch the animated series and explain which you prefer. There are lots of episodes available online. Here is one of them:


  • There are 206 bones in an adult human body. How many different calculations can you think of with the answer of 206?


  • Learn about skeletons and why they are important for our bodies. Here is a video which might help:

  • Look at the skeletons of different animals. How are they different / similar?
  • Draw around somebody you know on a large piece of paper and label the different bones inside their body on it.
  • The pictures in the story are all based in dark places. Investigate light and different light sources.
  • Explore how shadows are made. Could you draw the shadow of different skeletons?
  • The skeletons like to explore at night time. Why do we have day and night? What happens to the Earth and Sun to give us light times and dark times?

Design Technology

  • Could you make some skeleton puppets and perform your own Funnybones puppet show?


  • Draw your own skeleton pictures using different types of bones. Can you cut them out, jumble them up and then put them back together?
  • Draw skeletons for different animals.
  • Draw a picture of one of the rooms inside the skeletons’ dark dark house.
  • Stick paper and / or white art straws onto a black background to make your own skeleton pictures.

Skeleton Display


  • Sing the song ‘Dem Dry Bones’ with your class.
  • Watch different performances of the song ‘Dem Dry Bones’. Which do you prefer?

  • Can you make up a tune for the songs that the skeletons sing?


  • Draw a map showing all of the places in the skeleton’s dark, dark town.

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