Charlotte's Bones. An Unforgettable Picture Book Mystery for Perfect Picture Book Friday.

Most people can’t resist a mystery. So, when I came across today’s picture book, Charlotte’s Bones, my curiosity shot up when I read the added seven words, carefully included in the cover illustration…

The Beluga Whale in a Farmer’s Field.

Admit it, aren’t you curious to find out how Charlotte’s bones found their way there?

when I read the book, I discovered more than the answer to my question. I discovered a lovingly-written, lyrical story accompanied by equally touching and emotional illustrations that needed to be shared.

Charlotte’s Bones: The Beluga Whale in a Farmer’s Field 

Written by- Erin Rounds

Illustrated by – Alison Carver

Published by- Tilbury House Publishers, 2018

Topics – Beluga whales, Mystery, Evolution

Opening – Many thousands of years ago, when a sheet of ice more than a mile thick began to let go of the land…

…the Atlantic Ocean flooded great valleys that had been scooped out by glaciers, and the salty waves of an inland sea lapped the green hills of Vermont.

Synopsis from Amazon –In 1849, a crew building a railroad through Charlotte, Vermont, dug up strange and beautiful bones in a farmer’s field. A local naturalist asked Louis Agassiz to help identify them, and the famous scientist concluded that the bones belonged to a beluga whale. But how could a whale’s skeleton have been buried so far from the ocean? The answer―that Lake Champlain had once been an arm of the sea―encouraged radical new thinking about geological timescales and animal evolution.

Why do I like this book? Every now and then, I read a book that won’t let go of me. (Admittedly, these are usually true stories about animals.) They say a good picture book is one a child will want to hear or read again and again, but in the case of Charlotte’s Bones, I found a heartfelt story that I want to read again and again.

Watch a video about beluga whales HERE.

Until next Friday.


  1. Sheila Kerwin

    Sounds like a great book, Leslie! So much involved — biology, oceanography, history … this books may inspire future female and male scientists. Thanks.

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      I fell in love with this story immediately. It’s so beautifully written – nonrhyming with word choices a poet would love. I hope if you read it that you will love it as much as I do. 🙂

  2. Beth Anderson

    What an interesting story!

  3. Joanna

    Absolutely fascinating subject matter for a picture. Yay to Tilbury House for taking on such an unusual topic.

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      I have a soft spot for the books from Tilbury, and this one has earned a place on my treasured favorites bookshelf. I hope you’ll check it out.

  4. Andrea Mack

    The title intrigues me and so does your description!

  5. Lynn Baldwin

    Wow! Intriguing! And, this gives me an idea for a book about an animal bones discovery near where I live:-)

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      Lynn, that’s great! I always love when something I’ve read or heard inspires a new story. I’m glad Charlotte’s Bones inspired a new manuscript for you. 🙂

  6. Jilanne Hoffmann

    This sounds fascinating! Who wouldn’t want to know about how that whale got there?

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      The minute a read about the bones being discovered in a farmer’s field, I was intrigued to read this incredible story/journey of how they found their way there.

  7. Jill Proctor

    I will definitely check this book out. Its words, in your examples, are truly beautiful. It’s such an interesting story, and sounds like it would be a wonderful mentor text. Thanks for sharing!

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      I know you’re going to love this book, Jill. And yes, as mentor texts go, this one is fantastic. I love the word choices and rhythms in each sentence.

  8. Cathy Ballou Mealey

    Off to my library! This sounds amazing. Thank you!

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      I hope your library has a copy. But if they have to bring it in from another library, I can tell you, this book is worth the wait.

      • Cathy Ballou Mealey

        My teeny tiny library has limited shelf space but thankfully they are CHAMPS at inter-library loans!

  9. Patricia Tilton

    What a fascinating book about . I think kids who like dinosaur bones and digging for things in the soil, like arrow heads and stones, will find this book very appealing. I would have as a child. Nothing more interesting than discovering something. Beautiful cover. Great find!

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      Your mention of kids digging in the soil for arrowheads and stones took me back to my childhood vacations out west. I remember once finding three beautiful arrowheads in Arizona when I was about ten.
      And I agree, this book is a great find.

  10. Maria Marshall

    This sounds amazing, Leslie! Thanks for highlighting it in a great review. I have it on hold and am anxious to read it. 🙂

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      This book is worth the wait. I hope it comes in at your library soon. I was absolutely captivated by the gorgeous word choices.