From the Publisher
“Charming, character-driven fantasy with an elegant design and masterful story-telling in the tradition of Walt Kelly, Charles Schulz and Carl Barks.” -- PW
“Like Pogo, BONE has whimsy best appreciated by adults, yet kids can enjoy it, too; and like Barks' Disney Duck stories, BONE moves from brash humor to gripping adventure in a single panel.” -- ALA Booklist
“Bone has the multi-level writing and artwork of the best Chuck Jones cartoons or early Disney movies. It's overflowing with subtext about conflicting philosophies of power, cultural imperialism and political responsibility though not enough to get in the way of its silly fun.” CMJ New Music Monthly
“One of the best kid's comics ever.” Vibe Magazine
Sprawling, mythic comic is spectacular.” Spin Magazine
“ I love BONE! BONE is great!” Matt Groening
“Jeff Smith can pace a joke better than almost anyone in comics; his dialogue is delightful -- so are all his people, not to mention his animals, his villains, and even his bugs.” -- Neil Gaiman
As his clean, fluid drawing style makes clear, Smith was an animator before he began Bone -- his images always suggest how his characters move in space -- and a lot of his best tricks are animators' tricks. (The imperturbable matriarch Gran'ma Ben has exactly two, nearly identical facial expressions, a sour grimace and a sour grin.) He has also picked up his knack for comedy from old animated cartoons. A pair of hairy, slavering "rat creatures" arguing about whether to stew their victim or bake him into a "light, fluffy quiche" (while he gets away) is pure Daffy Duck; that the creatures still seem terrifyingly menacing a few pages later says a lot about Smith's dramatic range.
The Washington Post
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.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
When Fone Bone finds himself thrown out of Boneville with his cousins, he knows that he's in trouble, but he has no idea of the adventure that lies ahead of him. After a swarm of locusts and a fall down a cliff separate him from his cousins, Fone Bone finds himself in a forested valley peopled by unlikely friends and foeslaughing possum children, bickering rat creatures, a cigarette-smoking dragon, and the beautiful girl Thorn and her cow-racing grandma. When Fone Bone meets and secretly falls in love with Thorn, she promises to help him find his cousins at the spring fair. Before they can get there, they have a close call with the nefarious rat creatures that not only nearly does them in, but also reveals a glimpse of the sinister past of the rat creatures, their cloaked leader, and the valley that they threaten to overtake. With more than a little comedy and the help of the dragon, Fone Bone manages to reunite with his cousins, but it is clear that the rat creatures have more in store for them in the following volumes. Full of humor and sometimes scathing cultural commentary, Smith's first volume in the "BONE" series presents a novel-length feast for comic book lovers. Although the text itself is confined to the histrionics of the comic book genre, the illustrations areat timesvisually stunning and display a depth of story and detail that far outweighs the limited dialogue. 2003, Cartoon Books, Ages 12 up.