What is it: Only the best graphic novel of all time. Jeff Smith’s Bone is… well. It just is. It’s so good. On every level. The art. The story. The jokes. The serious bits. The balance of the serious with the funny, the profound with the irreverent. Even the subplot lines that peter out or come out of nowhere work.
How good is it, really: We read and reread the entire series for months, and no one ever got bored of it–not even the mother reading it for the seventieth time. Flora counts these as the first books she’s read on her own. She sleeps with the entire stack beside her bed. When she wakes up in the night to pee or grab a drink, she sometimes reads a page or two by flashlight. When we go on trips, I have to negotiate with her to only take one or two of them with her (I know I’m eventually going to break down and get the whole collection in e-form so they can always be with her on the iPad).
Why is it so good: God, if I knew that, I’d produce something with all the same ingredients. It just is. It’s brilliant. I think perhaps it’s so brilliant because it wasn’t intended for children: it was simply the story Jeff Smith wanted to tell. And so did. It works for both Flora and Cinder because it’s both visual and an incredibly story, it’s got great girl characters and great boy characters, it’s got young people and old people, it’s got fighting and a touch of romance, it’s got Phone Bone, and Smiley and Bartleby…
Recommended ages: Flora and Cinder were 7 and 9 when we started reading it. Sean and I were 37. In our circle of friends, we’ve got five and six year olds devouring it, and teenagers. I expect this will be Ender’s first reader.
Need more? Think I’m overstating my case? Just Google Jeff Smith’s Bone. Or go, to Jeff’s site at www. boneville.com.
Look, Scholastic says it’s educational to boot.
The 621-and-counting reviews of the first volume of Bone on Good Reads are here.
Now, get thee to your bookseller of choice. (Test drive them at the library if you like, but if your family loves them as much as ours did, you will need to own them.)
Burned Buyers’ Tip:Do get the colour versions, not the original black and whites. Triple-check that you’re getting the colour versions. It’s worth it. Don’t get the “entire massive series in one book” version. It’s too bulky. Plus, only one family member can read it at a time. Do get the Tall Tales extra book. Give The Handbook a skip, though, unless you absolutely must appease a fanatic.