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Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras
by Duncan Tonatiuh
Abrams (August 25, 2015)
Audience: Grades 2 to 5
Nonfiction * Biography * Art
Indiebound | WorldCat
Description from GoodReads:
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 beloved by many but whose name has remained in obscurity.
The book includes an author’s note, bibliography, glossary, and index.
My thoughts on the book:
Though I live in Southern California and know somethings about the history of El Día de los Muertos, I knew little about the artist behind the calaveras (skeleton figures). Funny Bones integrates the life, art, and politics of José Guadalupe Posada into a fascinating and engaging story.
Though the images below are primarily the work of Tonatiuh, the book does incorporate actual art for Posada.
Through his work with Don Trinidad, Posada began to draw and write political cartoons, which became the basis for his later drawings of calaveras.
There are several spreads in the book that show the steps for several of the art techniques referred to in the book. The one below shows the steps for lithography and engraving.
At the end of the book, Tonatiuh includes an extensive author's note with a substantial amount of extra information about El Día de Muertos and Jose Guadalupe Posada. The glossary provides explanations for a variety of terms. The bibliography provides for further reading along with a few additional resources.
I can't wait to share this will students. Pick up a copy of Funny Bones at your local indie bookstore or check it out at your local public library.
Check out the Lunchtime Hangout with Author/Illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh:
About the Author/Illustrator: Duncan Tonatiuh was born in Mexico City and grew up in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where he now lives. He travels extensively in the U.S., visiting schools, libraries, and bookstores.
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