A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
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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?
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