Teen Book Review

Northeast Library

Teen Book Review

The Bone Series by Jeff Smith

For a change of pace, this week’s book review is about a graphic novel series. If you’re a fantasy fan, or if you’ve ever thought about reading a graphic novel, then the best place to start is the Bone series by Jeff Smith. 

Fone Bone, a strange white-colored creature with a big nose, has just been run out of Boneville, along with his two cousins, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone.  It’s all thanks to one of Phoney’s rotten schemes to get elected mayor. 

While crossing the desert, Fone Bone is separated from his cousins by a swarm of locusts, and he ends up stuck in a valley that seems like it’s been plucked right out of the Middle Ages. However, there are a few differences. All the animals talk (especially one uppity bug named Tim), and there’s a giant red dragon roaming around that only Fone Bone can see. There’s also a horde of vicious rat creatures after him and his cousins (they think Bones would taste good baked into a quiche). But when Fone Bone meets a girl named Thorn and her Gran’ma Ben, he gets a whole new set of problems and enemies that might make sure he’ll never leave the valley again.

The best way to describe this series is “Looney Tunes meets Lord of the Rings.”  The series is filled with a great balance of high adventure sprinkled with great bits of comedy, mostly from the Bones and a pair of bumbling rat creatures.

The story of this series can only be described as epic, with twists and turns that may require a second reading to get the facts of this rich story straight. Fone Bone is a great main character; he has some quirks, but when push comes to shove, he’s there to help his friends and battle monsters. Considering that this series has magical creatures like the Bones interacting with realistic humans like Thorn and her family, interactions between the characters could have been done in a cartoon-like and childish way.  But that is far from the case here; the characters interact smoothly, and readers will have to keep reminding themselves these characters are not real because of how realistic they all seem to be.   The artwork is gorgeous, especially in the full-color book versions from Scholastic that are on the shelves. From the barren wastes of Old Man’s Cave to the lush floor of the valley, the settings are filled with detail.

The Bone series, which runs over nine graphic novels, is recommended for tween and teen readers of all ages.  Look up this great series at Northeast Library and other branches of the DC Public Library today. 

--by Brandon Digwood