Out from Boneville: Bone, Book 1

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Out from Boneville: Bone, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Now-classic comics saga gets off to a rousing start.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 3 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Out of Boneville is a fun and lively introduction to a classic series of graphic novels, suitable for nearly all ages. It emphasizes personal bravery and compassion for others.

Positive Messages

It is important to stand up to the things that scare us. Friends and family members should support each other in times of adversity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Each Bone cousin has very distinctive characteristics. Fone Bone is gentle and caring. Smiley is a friendly freewheeler who usually takes the easiest path. Phoney is greedy, power-hungry, and angry most of the time.


Rat creatures want to eat the Bones, but they are stupid and easily scared off by the arrival of the Red Dragon. Gra'Ma Ben's home is burned down.


Fone Bone has an unrequited crush on Thorn.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The Red Dragon almost always has a cigarette in his mouth. Smiley serves alcohol at a local tavern.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Out from Boneville is the first installment of a nine-part graphic novel series by Jeff Smith. It recounts the adventures of three Bone cousins -- Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone -- after they flee their village in the wake of one of Phoney's colossal scams. Smith's masterly drawing style will remind some readers of classic Disney animation, captivating in its details and expressive in its big moments. Violence is limited to threats from the rat creatures, some blasts of fire from the Red Dragon, and the burning of Gra'Ma Ben's home.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKaris M. July 30, 2018

Doesn't stand on its own

This story does not stand on it's own well. There are many storylines unfinished or unexplained in this first book of the series. It primarily serves to e... Continue reading
Written byAnonymous November 20, 2018

The butt review

This book has rude humor,smoking,and violence. At one point in the book (it doesn't show it) is says bone is looking at the girl thorn naked when she'... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byilhc January 7, 2021

A cute and fun story

I thought this was a cute and fun story. There are 3 Bones in this book and I really only like Fone Bone. Smiley was ok and I don't like Phoney bone at all... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old April 12, 2018

So funny!

Note: although the bone series seems silly and childish (which it sometimes is) the later books get quite violent. As for this book: Smiley smokes a lot, and th... Continue reading

What's the story?

At the start of OUT FROM BONEVILLE, the Bone cousins -- Fone Bone, Smiley Bone, and Phoney Bone -- flee their village, thanks to the anger enflamed by Phoney's latest scam there. Lost in a fiery desert, the Bones get separated. Fone makes his way to a lush forest, where he is threatened by stupid rat creatures, welcomed by a human girl named Thorn, and rescued by a laid-back Red Dragon. The Bones are eventually reunited, but many tantalizing mysteries remain at the end of this first volume.

Is it any good?

Very few comic series announce themselves as classics from their very first issue, but this is surely one of them. In Out from Boneville, creator Jeff Smith has a masterly drawing style that harks back to Walt Disney's animation glory days. Smith fills the plot with adventure, danger, word play, and complicated slapstick, hitting each mark with grace. Each character has hidden depths, even the blustery Phoney Bone. Although aimed at middle school readers, the book will appeal to a variety of ages, and it's good that all nine volumes are available for rapid consumption.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why graphic novels like Out from Boneville are so popular. What effects can comics create that words alone cannot?

  • How do you deal with family members who engage in bad behavior, such as greediness?

  • Fone Bone has a powerful crush on Thorn. What are some good ways to let a person know that you like him or her?

  • The Bone cousins have left Boneville for the first time. What is it like to move to a new place? What strategies for making new friends work best?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love graphic novels

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate