Bone: Out from Boneville, by Jeff Smith

Bone: Out from Boneville. By Jeff Smith.  Scholastic, 2005.  144 pages. $10.99

Plot: Once the richest man in his community, then found to be a crook, Phoncible P. Bone has been kicked out of Boneville.  His cousins, Fone Bone, and Smiley Bone, help him get out of town in a hurry and they all run away until the townspeople are not following them any more.  The Bone cousins are human-like creatures; they stand upright and have two arms and two legs.  They are blob-like in appearance, with round heads and white, smooth bodies which are smaller than the average human.  When a swarm of locusts surprises the cousins, they get separated, and Fone Bone eventually ends up in a valley with strange, scary rat creatures, unusual weather patterns, a dragon which no one but Fone Bone seems to see, and a lovely young girl named Thorn, who becomes Fone’s friend.  Together they find Fone’s two cousins and manage to escape an attack by the rat creatures.  But will the rat creatures return?  Why do they hunt the Bones?  Will the Bone cousins ever get back to Boneville?

Review: This book has some classic and well-done graphic novel elements: clear, detailed drawings in comic cels, good vs. evil, and mystery and suspense.  The unusual storyline and quirky characters make Bone fresh and unique.  Bone is humorous and, at times, a bit scary, and the artwork reflects this.  The Bone creatures are cute and friendly looking, but the rat creatures are hairy and menacing, with sharp horns and sharp teeth and red eyes.  Bone does what a high quality graphic novel should do, it uses words to enhance the story that the images mostly tell.

Genre(s): Graphic Novel, Adventure, Mystery, Fantasy

Reading/Interest Level: 8-12 years

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback

ISBN: 978-0439706407

Similar Books: Others in the series; The Adventures of Daniel Boom, AKA Loud Boy; The Dodgeball Chronicles (Knights of the Lunch Table, No. 1)

Subjects: banishment, good vs. evil, survival

Series Information: Out from Boneville is the first in a nine volume Bone series, so the adventure continues…

Selected Awards: The Bone series started first as black and white cartoons, those cartoons and the newer color graphic novels have received numerous Eisner Awards and Harvey Awards.  In 2005, Time Magazine put Bone (a compilation of the 9 book series) on its list of the 100 best English-Language novels from 1923 to the present.


The Hardy Boys, Undercover Brothers #16: Shhhhhhh! (Graphic Novel), by Scott Lobdell

The Hardy Boys, Undercover Brothers #16: Shhhhhhh! (Graphic Novel). By Scott Lobdell. Illustrated by Paulo Henrique. Papercutz, 2009.  96 pages. $7.95

Plot: An important British Ambassador is coming to Washington, D.C. for an important, and sensitive, treaty negotiation, and ATAC (American Teens Against Crime) undercover agents Joe and Frank Hardy are assigned to be bodyguards of the Ambassador’s three young children.  Armed with two books that contain special defensive powers, the boys head with the children to take a tour of the National Library of Education.  But this trip to the library proves more dangerous than most.  When several bad guys – all muscular and bald – try to get to the ambassador’s children, Frank, Joe, and their librarian tour guide must think fast to keep the children safe.  Will all three make it out of the library alive?  Will Frank and Joe’s undercover status be blown by a surprise visitor to the library?  You’ve never seen so many PLAK!s, SWASH!s and WHUMPS!s inside a library before!

Review: An interesting version of the classic Hardy Boys books, “based on the series by Franklin W. Dixon,” done modern, graphic novel-style.  A simple story line, your basic good guys versus bad guys concept, comes to life with full-color illustrations.  This series is might appeal to tweens who love both the Hardy Boys novels and graphic novels, or those who typically read one or the other.  The plot lacked creativity, but was fast-paced and exciting.  And, of course, I liked the fact that it took place in a library (couldn’t help adding a pic of the back cover as well as the front!).  Just as in other graphic novels, the images of men and women are not at all true to life.  Most of the images of men are overly muscular and most of the women have Barbie-esque bodies with tiny waists and lots of curves, and all the adults seem to wear tight fitting clothing, in, as mentioned above, truly graphic novel style.  Not completely anti-feminist, as the librarian, Elsa, is brave and stands up to save the kids, but the images of women are not exactly diverse as far as body-type goes.  Interestingly, there is quite a bit of ethnic diversity within the supporting characters and crowd scenes.

Genre(s): Graphic Novel, Adventure, Mystery

Reading/Interest Level: 8-12 years

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback

ISBN: 978-1597071383

Similar books: Others in the series, Nancy Drew Graphic Novel Series

Subjects: crime, undercover agents, detectives

Series Information: The Hardy Boys, Undercover Brothers is #16 in a 20-volume graphic novel series by Papercutz, there are also novels, comic books, and a new graphic novel series called “The New Case Files”

Character Names

Joe Hardy: main character, brother of Frank, undercover agent in ATAC, hired to be a bodyguard for a the children of a British diplomat in Washington, D.C. for an important meeting

Frank Hardy: main character, brother of Joe undercover agent in ATAC, hired to be a bodyguard for a the children of a British diplomat in Washington, D.C. for an important meeting

Max, Greta, Vilma: the children of Ambassador Sir Arthur Moorelander, potentially in danger from international forces who want to hurt their father

Elsa Brandt: librarian and tour guide at the National Library of Education, helps keep the children safe during their tour