Fat & Bones: And Other Stories

Larissa Theule (Author) Adam S Doyle (Illustrator)


Welcome to Bald's farm. Well, perhaps it's not Bald's farm anymore. The old man has kicked the bucket, setting off a wave of conflict from the flooded farmhouse kitchen to the muddy pig pen to the tall wheat fields. In this darkly funny, slightly supernatural chain of tales, no creature is safe. Not Leonard Grey, a spider with sophisticated tastes. Not Esmeralda, a resentful one-legged pig. Not Tulip, a plant with a mean streak. And as for Bones, the old man's son, and Fat, his winged rival? They'll learn that danger lurks in the strangest of places...

Product Details

Carolrhoda Books (R)
Publish Date
October 01, 2014
5.88 X 0.57 X 8.96 inches | 0.6 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Larissa Theule holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and is the author of three forthcoming picture books. She lives in Pasadena, California, with her family.

Born in Boston, Adam earned his BFA at The Rhode Island School of Design and a decade later his MFA at The School of Visual Arts. He has enjoyed living for a time in Rome, Los Angeles, New York City, New Zealand, and Hong Kong. His artwork is a lifelong means of exploring which he does everyday into themes of nature, myth, and wonder.


"This quick and entertaining tale from a first-time author tells the story of life on a farm, mostly centering on the parts no one would ever notice. The title characters are a mischievous fairy and an evil, unintelligent young man, but as each chapter unfolds many other anthropomorphized figures come to life, including a pig, a spider, some flowers, and most importantly, a cat. All these interact, some as prey and others as predator, until readers reach the humorous and satisfying conclusion. Illustrations add to the mysterious mood of each chapter. This book would be a perfect choice for teacher read-alouds, and students would clamor to read it again on their own. [Editor's Note: Available in e-book format.] Recommended."―Library Media Connection


"Short, peculiar, inexplicable: This won't be for everyone.

When Bald the farmer dies, his miserable son, Bones, is determined to get rid of Fat the fairy, who lives on the farm, once and for all. Their rivalry sets off a series of interconnected tales, each one dark and surreal and imbued with a kind of meaning, although the meaning is not always immediately apparent--and there's little to no morality on display, although there are glimmers of a very dark sense of absurdity. While there are occasional moments of kindness (a vindictive, nearly footless pig tries to ensure the prettiest pig's trotter ends up in a stew but sacrifices herself instead at the last moment; a misfit spider finds love), most of the tales are dark indeed. A lovelorn mouse sets up his rival for defeat by cat; a tulip becomes an assassin of smaller flowers; and Fat and Bones both come to nasty ends. The tales link together across the space of a single day, at the end of which peace reigns on the farm. Tonally these read a bit like folk or fairy tales, but the edges are sharp; the dark, ink-blotted design and pen-and-ink art make this an object to admire as well as read.

Strange and strangely compelling, this is one of those books that needs the right reader--who will eat it up." --Kirkus Reviews--Journal

"In seven interconnected short stories, first-time author Theule transports readers to an isolated farm whose owner, Bald, has just died, sparking conflicts that leave nothing and no one unscathed, whether human, animal, flower, or fairy. The farmer's cruel son, Bones, and the resident fairy, Fat, promptly set out to destroy the other, in the process cutting off the farm cat's tail and turning Mrs. Bald (who hasn't stopped sobbing since her husband's death) into a 'mass of skin, fingernails, and hair, ' after she inadvertently drinks a 'Skeleton Eraser' elixir. The sometimes-comic, sometimes-gruesome events and eerie rural setting call to mind the short-lived cartoon Courage the Cowardly Dog--Theule's is a farm where pigs whose feet haven't been lopped off for stew mount elaborate dance numbers and where a mouse sails across a lake of Mrs. Bald's tears to profess his love. Moments of selfishness, sacrifice, bravery, and revenge jumble together in haunting and unexpected ways, and Doyle's lush b&w illustrations help establish an unsettling atmosphere that feels like Charlotte's Web by way of Neil Gaiman." --starred, Publishers Weekly


"Bloodthirsty young readers will revel in Theule's anthropomorphic short stories. The title story regales the audience with a boisterous feud between Bones, the evil son of Bald (a now-dead farmer), and Fat, a revengeful fairy who casts a spell that erases the skeleton from the farmer's wife. Without her bones, Mrs. Bald cannot wield the cleaver and hack off pigs' feet for her son's favorite stew, and Esmeralda the pig was able to save her last foot--or was she? The short stories host a macabre cast of the farm's gruesome characters: the cat, who gets her tail chopped off; Leonard Grey III, a sonnet-writing spider; Jimmy, the love-struck mouse; and flowers Daisy and Tulip, best friends who use pollen as a weapon for survival. Doyle's black-and-white, pen-and-ink illustrations complement the stories with just the right amount of gloom and whimsy. Perhaps the cleaver says it best as she intones her refrain, 'Blood blood blood, all I want is blood, fresh juicy piggy blood, blood blood blood.'" --Booklist