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 2 reviews

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.

Violence

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.

Sex

Fone Bone has an unrequited crush on Thorn.

Language
Consumerism
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
Adult Written byJake K. March 21, 2018
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
Teen, 14 years old Written bySupercowgirl August 22, 2018

A wild cross between The Lord of the Rings and Snow White

I'm a huge comic book fan, but I put this title off for a long while because it looked childish. However, looks can be very, very deceiving. Bone turned ou... 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

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