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August 17, 2009

I just finished reading Bone for the first time in my life. I meant to, but I always got it confused with a bunch of other stuff (like Groo and Pogo and other four-letter comics, I guess), and talked myself out of it. But what a mistake that was.

Bone is great in that it begins simply–a little silly, a little cute, a little fun, a little cartoony–and then slowly builds into a rich fantasy story.  It’s good for kids, though slightly older ones who can deal with death.  (The amount of violence starts out minimal, then builds to war scenes as the story goes on, but there is a loss of a major character and I’m not gonna lie, I totally teared up–but my mom had just come over and she would never stand for that sort of emotional outburst, Marilla-style.)   Fone Bone is a cute-looking comic strip-esque character, and he and his two cousins–lazy Smiley Bone and greedy Phoncible “Phoney” Bone–are run out of town by one of Phoney’s get-rich-quick schemes and end up in a completely new world with dragons, cow races, and a mysterious hooded figure who wants to bring about the end of the world.  And, of course, those stupid, stupid rat creatures.

The art, too, is pretty simple.  If there’s one thing I cannot stand, it’s cluttered art.  But Smith never draws a scene that cannot be easily followed with the eye, and everything manages to be beautiful too.  The heroine, Thorn, is breathtaking.  Even in the original black-and-white, everything’s gorgeous, although I think I might prefer the newer color versions…sometimes.  Maybe not for the first book.  I have no idea which one I linked to up at the top.

Anyway: Bone.  Highly recommended for middle school kids and up.  Adults will love it too.

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