January 24, 2009
Review: Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith
Out from Boneville is the first volume in Smith's Bone series.
My Summary: Phoney Bone, the richest guy in Boneville, gets run out of town because of his dubious business dealings. His cousins Fone and Smiley join him in exile, and soon the Bones are lost in the desert. After the three are overtaken by a swarm of locusts, Fone finds himself alone with only a scrap of a map, which may be real or one of Smiley's practical jokes. Fone decides to follow the map, and along the way he sees Smiley's cigar butts, scattered in the sand like a trail of bread crumbs.
Fone eventually ends up in a beautiful, lush valley, and it seems that his luck has changed. Now all he has to do is find his cousins so they can all go back home. The good news is that he is able to make some friends; the bad news is that giant rat creatures seem to think Fone would make a tasty treat. Will Fone be able to escape the rats? Are Phoney and Smiley lost forever? How will Fone ever find his way back to Boneville?
My Thoughts: I loved Out of Boneville, and I even chuckled out loud in a few places. Fone is just so darn cute! The interactions and contrasts among the three cousins offer good dynamics, and Thorn and her grandmother are great characters. This first volume sets the scene for the longer tale, and although the plot isn't all that sophisticated so far, it's a great read.
The full-color drawings are absolutely brilliant. I am particularly taken with the characters' faces—from the monsters to the baby possums—and the eyes and the general expressions are fantastic. Two of the simplest panels show the first snowfall of winter; they are hilarious in the context of the story. Can't wait to read the rest of the saga.
This was cross-posted at my blog Beth Fish Reads.
Published by Scholastic, 2005