Smith's capacious imagination takes flight, literally, in this picture book…If you plan to steer a child toward the
Bone books later (and you should!), this is a terrific introduction to a world full of wonder and unexpected rewards.
The New York Times Book Review - Maria Russo
Smiley, one of the three cousins from Smith’s comic saga Bone rescues a colorful flock of birds in this vividly drawn tale. Enjoying a stroll through the woods, Smiley hears songbirds singing and begins to count them. One purple bird sports a handsome top hat, the second is orange, the next three are yellow. He stops counting after a dozen and finds himself rising up in the air, able to soar joyously with the whole flock. When a hawk threatens, talons out, Smiley pulls up in front of it, sending it scuttling and winning the affection of the songbird crew. As so often happens, it’s all a dream. “Sometimes dreams are scary,” Smiley says, “but the good ones make it worth it!” It’s a simple story, but it has memorable elements: Smiley’s ability to fly, to become close to wild animals, to be the hero. Smith’s line is masterfully controlled, and each of Smiley’s emotions—interest, dismay, elation—will be clear even to the youngest viewers. The generous trim size further shows off the spreads, which have the appeal of classic Sunday funnies. Ages 3–5. (July)
A "If you plan to steer a child toward the Bone books later (and you should!), this is New York Times Editors' Choice a terrific introduction to a world full of wonder and unexpected rewards." The New York Times"This is an unusually friendly and gentle story, wrapped in a lovely yet dynamic package. Smith's warmly embracing style proves a natural for picture books, and his sensibility is perfectly pitched to a younger readership." Booklist "Smith's line is masterfully controlled, and each of Smiley's emotions interest, dismay, elation will be clear even to the youngest viewers. The generous trim size further shows off the spreads, which have the appeal of classic Sunday funnies." "Full-page illustrations, some wordless and some sprinkled with dialogue balloons, convey the plot in a simple graphic novel–style format, and Publishers Weekly the bright cartoon artwork has an engaging fluidity and energy." School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—This crisply illustrated picture book stars a character from Smith's award-winning series of graphic novels. Strolling through the woods on a beautiful day, Smiley, a blobby white cartoon character, decides to count the birds he hears singing (each bird tweets a musical note colored to match its feathers). By the time he gets to numbers seven and eight, Smiley is flapping his arms and flying along with the flock. After reaching 12, he gives up on enumerating and focuses on soaring through the blue sky surrounded by feathered friends. The mood changes when a raptor arrives and harries the frightened birds with sharp-looking talons and beak. Smiley confronts the predator, scaring the poop out of it (literally). Surrounded by the thankful birds, he counts down from 10, before gently descending to the ground and settling under a tree, sound asleep. Awakening, he realizes that it was all a dream, acknowledging, "Sometimes dreams are scary, but the good ones make it worth it." Full-page illustrations, some wordless and some sprinkled with dialogue balloons, convey the plot in a simple graphic novel—style format, and the bright cartoon artwork has an engaging fluidity and energy. VERDICT Youngsters already acquainted with Smiley and the "Bone" universe will get the most of this adventure, but the book's positive message and exuberant presentation has broad appeal.—Joy Fleishhacker, Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Springs
Smiley Bone flies with the birds in this picture-book outing for the character from Smith's Bone graphic novels.Smiley is taking a walk in the woods on a beautiful day. He listens to the birds singing, which makes him wonder how many there are. He counts the many-colored birds, each chirping musical notes the color of their plumage. By the time he reaches seven, Smiley is flying alongside the birds he's counting. He stops counting after he hits 12 and just enjoys his flight with the flock (some of whom have hats or scarves on). Then a bird of prey attacks, terrifying the songbirds. Smiley gets up in the attacker's beak…and literally scares the poo out of it. His bird friends thank him, and he counts back down to one only to find himself snoozing under a tree. He realizes it's all been a dream…but a good one, the kind that makes even the scary ones "worth it." Smith applies graphic-novel conventions to this picture book; nearly every page is framed like a comic panel, and the limited dialogue is all presented in dialogue balloons. Little readers unfamiliar with the Bone comics won't know that this fantasy character isn't supposed to fly, and there really isn't much of a story, but the gentle message may be good as bibliotherapy for children who have nightmares, and the bright colors are inviting. Best for children of Bone fans. (Picture book. 2-6)