Bone: Out From Boneville
You’ve probably already seen at least one recommendation, if not many more, for Bone. It’s an all-ages fantasy romp that truly lives up to the description: there’s something here for everyone and all generations.
The first book, Out From Boneville, introduces our cast and throws them right into action. The Bone cousins, Fone, Phoney, and Smiley, are hiding out in the desert after the townspeople chased greedy, money-grubbing Phoney away. Locusts attack, and the cousins get separated, so now they must reunite.
There’s humor and adventure and danger and monsters. The cousins run away a lot, as all good heroes do when confronted with something bigger than they are. The Bones are on the smallish side, too, so most everything fits in that category, especially dragons and Stupid Stupid Rat Creatures. Kids will relate. Older people will understand the bickering between some of the characters, as when the rats let dinner get away because they’re having a spat.
Jeff Smith’s cartooning is excellent, and the creativity radiates off the page. At times, reading this book is almost like watching a cartoon, it’s so fluid and animated and full of movement. When Fone gets found and adopted by Thorn, it’s adorable to watch the hearts radiating off his head. That simple symbol says so much about his feelings.
There’s plenty of cuteness (caring for baby possums!) but enough tart to keep the taste from curdling. It’s astounding that Phoney hasn’t been killed yet, but how unlikeable he is is a tribute to Smith’s character creation. Much happens, but you’ll still finish this book ready for more, and thankfully, there’s lots out there.
Jeff Smith’s website is called Boneville. (The publisher provided a review copy.)