Writer and Artist: Jeff Smith
|via Thrash Lab|
I would imagine that just about anyone who works in an American elementary school is aware of the Bone books - seemingly required on classroom bookshelves. During standardized testing week (groan...), I occasionally find myself proctoring for a bit while the classroom teacher takes his/her prep period or steps out for a bathroom break. After the kids finish the test, they're allowed to read and the Bone series is the go-to for many of them, especially the boys. I never gave a thought to reading them myself until I learned more about their stature within the broader comic book world. While children are certainly the target audience, I discovered more and more adult readers (including my blogger friend Andrew Leon) who have read and enjoyed them. So, we got Volume 1 for Our Girl for her birthday. I figured if she liked it, I'd give it a try, too.
She definitely liked it, buying the next two books herself not long afterward. I, however, was not initially convinced. The first volume (Out from Boneville) is good, mind you, but it didn't do quite enough to hook me. The next two (The Great Cow Race and Eyes of the Storm) sold me.
The story so far: the Bone cousins - Fone, Phoney and Smiley - are driven out of Boneville when one of Phoney's schemes goes wrong. After they are separated by a storm of locusts, the story follows Bone, the most personable of the three. He meets and falls in love with Thorn, a human girl. He essentially moves in with Thorn and her grandmother. Eventually the cousins are reunited, each having experienced adventures soon to be intertwined. Meanwhile, a dragon seems to be protecting Fone, though the reason why is as yet unclear.
There's more, of course, but them's the basics. The first book doesn't get far beyond the basic story of the Bone cousins but the next two delve into the broader context of the dragons, the rat creatures who are essentially hunting the Bones, and Thorn and her grandmother's connection to all of the above. The strength of the story is the mix of lighter, comic elements with the dark realities challenging the characters. I'm invested now and definitely up for more.