Bone: Out from Boneville, by Jeff Smith

Published May 29, 2013 by Dagmar

BoneI can’t believe I haven’t read Bone until now.  This is an embarrassing thing to admit as a children’s librarian, because Bone may be the most popular set of books in my library.  I usually invest my time reading books that I feel won’t circulate unless I “sell” them to my students.  This series definitely does NOT need selling.  It is a perennial favorite in my library with students from 2nd to 6th grade.

Phoney Bone is the richest Bone in Boneville.  Unfortunately, he’s also a swindler who has cheated the townspeople left, right and backwards.  When he is run out of town, his two cousins, Fone Bone and Smiley Bone, help save him.  Fone Bone is kind, polite and resourceful.  Smiley Bone is funny and not the brightest Bone in the bunch.  Escaping with only one backpack full of prized possessions but no food or water, the three cousins wander in the desert.  Attacked by locusts, they run, only to be split up from one another.  Fone ends up crossing a mountain pass and finds himself in a valley, containing terrible rat creatures, a friendly red dragon, a possum family and a nice girl named Thorn and her grandma who take him in.  Fone finally finds Phoney Bone, who is a disaster when it comes to manners.  Fone Bone and Phoney Bone set out together to find the still missing Smiley Bone.

I love the wit and the dialog in this very funny book.  The characters, particularly the “not terribly smart” rat monsters and the wry red dragon with “Seuss-like” fluffy ears are absolutely great.  I can definitely see why these books are so popular and why any elementary school library needs a set of these books.  I think any child, second grade and up would enjoy the series, but that the students will understand more of the author’s wit if they are in fourth grade or older.

There are eleven books in the original Bone series, counting the prequel, Rose, and Tall tales.  The author also wrote another series called Quest for Spark.  Don’t miss them!

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