BONE: Out from Boneville

Jeff Smith, Author, Jeff Smith, Illustrator . Scholastic/Graphix $18.95 (138p) ISBN 978-0-439-70623-0 ISBN 978-0-439-70640-7

The nine-volume Bone graphic novel series was the toast of the comics world when it was published by Smith's own Cartoon Books beginning in the early 1990s; in this first volume of Scholastic's new edition, the original b&w art has been beautifully converted into color. Smith's epic concerns three blobby creatures who have stumbled into a valley full of monsters, magic, farmers, an exiled princess and a huge, cynical dragon. The story is something like a Chuck Jones version of The Lord of the Rings : hilarious and action-packed, but rarely losing track of its darker subtext about power and evil. This volume is the most lighthearted of the bunch, though, featuring some of the wittiest writing of any children's literature in recent memory—a few of Smith's gags are so delicious that he repeated them for the rest of the series. It also introduces the Bone cast's unforgettable supporting characters: the leathery, tough-as-nails, racing-cow-breeding Gran'ma Ben; the carnivorous but quiche-loving "rat creatures"; a spunky trio of baby opossums; and Ted the Bug, whose minimalist appearance (a tiny semicircle) exemplifies Smith's gift for less-is-more cartooning. The way his clear-lined, exaggerated characters contrast with their subtle, detailed backgrounds is a product of his background in animation, and so is his mastery of camera angles and choreography. This is first-class kid lit: exciting, funny, scary and resonant enough that it will stick with readers for a long time. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 02/07/2005
Release date: 02/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-0-9636609-9-2
Hardcover - 138 pages - 978-0-7569-5935-7
Paperback - 1 pages - 978-0-9636609-4-7
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-25105-1
Prebound-Other - 978-1-4176-3888-8
Prebound-Other - 138 pages - 978-0-606-33282-8
Hardcover - 142 pages - 978-1-59497-297-3
Hardcover - 138 pages - 978-0-439-70623-0
Prebound-Glued - 138 pages - 978-1-4176-5780-3
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