Open main menu

The Amazing Bone is a 32-page picture book by William Steig from 1976. It was nominated for the Caldecott Medal in 1977; however, Leo & Diane Dillon's Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions won, so The Amazing Bone only received the Caldecott Honor Award.[1] It was the first of Steig's few books in which the main character is a female.

The Amazing Bone
AuthorWilliam Steig
PublisherFarrar, Straus, Giroux,
Publication date
AwardsCaldecott Honor,

The story is about how Pearl the pig is walking home from school, and finds a magic bone on the ground, which has the ability to imitate any sound and speak in any language (It samples Spanish, Polish and German for her). Pearl takes it with her, and on the way home they have several misadventures, including an encounter with a hungry fox who wants to eat Pearl for dinner.[2]

The book was featured in an episode of the PBS television show Storytime in which it was read to a live audience.


In the mid 80's a short animated film was made of this book, with John Lithgow as the narrator. Lithgow also gave his voice for another film adaptation of a William Steig book, Shrek.

A children's musical was produced at Lifeline Theatre in Chicago, Illinois in 1996. This adaptation, by Eric Lane Barnes, was also produced at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica, California in 2010.


  1. ^ Haase, Donald (2008). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales: Q-Z. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 919. ISBN 9780313334443. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  2. ^ Rothstein, Edward (3 March 2008). "Worlds Outfoxed by a Wily Inner Child". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 November 2012.