Bone: Out of Boneville

By Jeff Smith; Scholastic Books, 2005; pp 138

Plot: After being banished from Boneville, for the crimes of one Phoney Bone, the three Bone cousins—Fone, Phoney, and Smiley–are separated and lost in a desert and then an enchanted forest. Individually, they find their way to the farm of Gran’ma Ben and her daughter Thorn. These little critters look adorable—except for the greedy and grouchy Phoney—like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, but they are about to be cast into an adventure that includes rat creatures, a dragon, and evil forces that are conspiring against them and their return to Boneville. The book readers life a Jr. J.R.R. Tolkien-esque adventure that young readers and their parents can enjoy.

Genre: Graphic Novel Fantasy

Reading Level: 8 to adult

Review: This book captured my eight-year-old’s imagination and has become a classic, one that I do not think he will outgrow. The Bone series originally was released as a 1,300-page black and white tome. He asked the reference librarian if she could help him find “Bone” and when she came around the corner carrying the huge book, he looked like he’d swallowed a canary. I was sure my reluctant reader would be discouraged after a few pages. Wrong! When the series was released in 10 full-color installments, he read those with the same excitement, and I can see these books being packed with his belongings when he goes off to college. What is it about this story and characters? The tale straddles innocent adventure and hair-raising drama simultaneously.  The Bone characters run the gamut from adorable, devious, and daft, but the story is multilayered and Hobbit-esque. “Out of Boneville” introduces readers to the characters and the depth of the predicament that the cousins are ensnared in with future installments. Would someone make this into a movie. Pixar, are you listening?

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