Graphix, 2005. 978-0-439-70623-0
Synopsis: Cousins Phoney Bone, Smiley Bone, and Fone Bone are run out of their home in Boneville and after wandering in a mountainous desert become separated from each other. Fone Bone finds his way into a mysterious valley whose inhabitants include a red dragon, a race of Hairy Men, a family of possums, and a woman who races cows and her granddaughter, Thorn. Fone Bone, with the help of Thorn, looks for his lost cousins so that the three can begin their journey back to Boneville.
Why I picked it up: Another title recommended by my classmates and featured briefly in the Manga Pro Superstar Workshop book.
Why I finished it: Smith manages to artfully combine mystery, adventure, and humor into his tale about leaving home and then finding your way back again. The simplistic black and white comics are fun and inviting, reminiscent of Calvin and Hobbes strips (which are equally funny). I could identify with Fone Bone and his frustration at his cousins coupled with the wonderment of discovering new places he never knew existed. This first volume in a nine volume series sets the reader in the middle of lands unfamiliar, unveils the plot, and creates characters that will no doubt become more interesting to follow as one proceeds through the books. It’s a charming, imaginative, thought-provoking, and laugh-out-loud funny look at how we perceive the world.
Other related materials: Bone, Volume 2: The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith; Bone, Volume 3: Eyes of the Storm by Jeff Smith; Bone, Volume 4: The Dragonslayer by Jeff Smith; Bone, Volume 5: Rock Jaw, Master of the Eastern Border by Jeff Smith; Bone, Volume 6: Old Man’s Cave by Jeff Smith; Bone, Volume 7: Ghost Circles by Jeff Smith; Bone, Volume 8: Treasure Hunters by Jeff Smith; Bone, Volume 9: Crown of Thorns by Jeff Smith; Bone, Prequel: Rose by Jeff Smith; Bone: Tall Tales by Jeff Smith and Tom Sniegoski; Bone: Quest for the Spark Books 1 & 2 by Jeff Smith and Tom Sniegoski; The Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi; Knights of the Lunch Table books by Frank Cammuso; The Adventures of Daniel Boom AKA Loud Boy books by D.J. Steinberg and Brian Smith; Missile Mouse books by Jake Parker; The Sisters Grimm books by Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson; The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick