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Review: Bone Tribute Edition

I’ve always been open and honest about being a late comer to the comics world. I’d only read a handful of comics until 10-12 years ago, when I decided to bring comics into my school’s library. I then started to read sporadically, until I joined ALA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens selection committee. Only then did I become a regular and avid reader of comics. So I missed a lot of comics, and one of the titles I regularly procrastinated reading was the Bone series. I finally picked it up with the newly reissued Tribute edition.

Bone: Out from Boneville. Tribute Edition
By Jeff Smith, Color by Steve Hamaker.
Grades 4 and up
2015, Scholastic Graphix, 9780545800709:
192 pp., $14.99

BoneTribute_coverOf course, I immediately wondered what took me so long to read this! I absolutely appreciated the mass appeal and mass popularity of this title (I’ve replaced the series so many times in the last 10 years, and it’s always a high demand item in my library).

Fone Bone and his cousins Phoney Bone and Phoncible P. Bone were thrown out of their village. After wandering and getting lost, Fone Bone is separated from his cousins. He meets Thorn, who agrees to help him out. There are ugly rats that are evil and being ordered around by a mysterious figure to find the one with the star. (Presumably, Phoncible P. Bone.) And Thorn’s grandmother Rose has a whole history and lots beneath the surface of her “old lady exterior.” There’s a whole lot of backstory.

The book ends on an exciting note. Readers will immediately want to read the next issue. Fortunately, there’s information about what to read next, and all are readily available on library shelves or in bookstores. The artwork is exciting. There’s a perfect balance of realistic and magical in the series. The colors are vibrant, and I really can’t imagine reading this with black and white line drawings.

The tribute edition adds a few goodies to the end of the book, starting with a poem by Jeff Smith that is illustrated with characters from Bone. Then there are a number of pages of “pin-up” art, and finally, other artists draw tributes to Jeff Smith and the 10th anniversary of the colorization of Bone. The tributes are a nice added touch, but they really don’t do much for the series overall. Had I not needed to replace copies of Out From Boneville, it would not have been worth replacing my copy. Still, it was nice seeing this series, which is still in so much demand, get its due from Scholastic.

This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © Scholastic.

Esther Keller About Esther Keller

Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. Her collection is also the model for all middle school libraries in NYC. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library, and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.

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