Bone-Out from Boneville

Author: Jeff Smith
Reading Range: 2.4 (AR Finder)
Interest Range: 4-8 (AR Finder)
Plot:  The book is about the adventures of the Bone cousins. Fone Bone is the good cousin while Phoney Bone is the scheming cousin.  Their funny, friendly cousin is Smiley Bone.  The story begins in Boneville when the Bone cousins get run out-of-town because of their good for nothing  cousin was cheating the town.  The Bones are running away for lives when they get separated and lost in uncharted territory.  The story revolves around all the characters the Bones meet, especially Fone Bone. Fone meets the evil rats who want to eat him up but keeps being saved by a mysterious dragon and a small bug. The bug sends Fone to see Thorn and her grandmother. Fone falls in love with Thorn, who is human. After finding Thorn, Fone locates his evil cousin, who continues being up to no good and getting him in trouble.
Review:   This is a hilarious book and a favorite among my students. It is hard to keep it on the shelves because so many of my students want to read it. Even my reluctant readers enjoy the series and it helps it has a low reading level. The graphics are excellent. The plot goes from serious to funny very quickly. Smith has a skill of balancing humor and drama. It is appropriate for different ages. After I read the first book, I devoured the rest of the series in one day because the story is quite addictive. I would recommend this for people who like graphic novels but also those who like fantasy and adventure.
Additional Info:
This is book 1 of the Bone series. There are nine books in the series. The series won a number of Eisner Awards which are given to outstanding graphic novel series.
Main Characters:
Fone Bone-Fone Bone is the hero of the story. He is the smartest of his three cousins. He favorite book is Moby Dick. He turns to stop Phoney Bone’s schemes as often as he can before he gets them into trouble.
Phoney Bone-Phoney Bone is interesting in doing whatever he can to get rich. He gets his cousin and himself throw out of their hometown due to one of his schemes. Although he can be selfish, he is also protective of his cousins.
Smiley Bone-He is the friendly of the Bones. He tries to help those he can. He often gets sucked into Phoney Bone’s schemes.
Thorn-Thorn lives on a farm with Grand’ma Ben. Fone Bone develops a crush on her. She is brave and resourceful.
Grand’ma Ben-Grand’ma Ben is raising Thorn after her parents died. She is tough and is very good at cow racing.
The Great Red Dragon-He often comes in the nick of time to save Fone Bone. He is incredible old.

Theme:  Fate and free will, Greed as downfall, Good vensus Evil, Heroism

Bibliographic Info: 

Smith, Jeff (2005).  Bone Out of Boneville. New York, NY: Scholastic Incorporated.




Author: Raina Telgemeier
Reading Range: 2.6 (AR Finder)
Interest Range: 4-8 (AR Finder)
Plot: This is the humorous autobiographical story of Raina Telgemeier. She tells the story of how she lost her front teeth and the things she had to do to fix them. This happened when she was starting middle school. She was coming home from a girl scout meeting. She and her friends start to run home when she falls and knocks her front teeth out. Eventually they were able to fix her teeth but she had to endure a lot before it was done. She lives through an earthquake. She has to see good dentists and bad dentists. She starts to become comfortable with herself and her teeth. She discovers who her friends are but also who she is.
Review: Many of my students enjoy this book. They like reading about Raina and what she goes through. She makes it funny even through at the time it must have been very hard for her to go through this. It sounded like it was very painful. I imagine she took a lot of pain medicine. I liked this book because many people have something they do not like about themselves. Raina has her teeth and it makes it hard for her to accept herself. Also, it shows how hard middle school can be when someone is different. I liked the fact that she was able to stand up to her friends when they were treating her bad. Her friends say some insensitive things to her about her teeth. Raina choose to tell her story in a graphic novel form. I enjoyed reading her story and seeing how she saw it.
Additional Info:
This is a true story.
Main Characters:
Raina-She is the main character. She loses her front teeth and has to go through a number of horrible dental procedures before they are fixed.
Mom-She helps Raina through this as best she can.
Amara-She is Raina’s sister.
Will-He is Raina’s brother.

Theme:  Coming of Age, Empowerment, Growing up

Bibliographic Info: Telgemeier, R. (2010) Smile. Scholastic: New York, NY

Tagline:  Family, Friends, Boys. . .Dental Drama?!


Author: Doug TenNapel
Reading Range: 2.2 (AR Finder)
Interest Range: ages 10 and up (
Plot: It is Cam’s birthday and his father, Mike, does not have any money to buy him a gift. He is a carpenter looking for work. Mike runs into a man named Gideon who sells him a piece of cardboard. The piece of cardboard comes with two rules: return any scraps and do not ask for more cardboard. Mike and Cam broke both of those rules. Mike and Cam turn that piece of cardboard into a boxer that comes alive. The cardboard boxer is named Bill. The neighborhood bully named Marcus discovers what the cardboard can do and steals it from Cam. He makes his own army of cardboard monsters who turn against him. Cam, Mike, and Billy have to save their neighborhood from the cardboard monsters Marcus created.
Review: In this story, Mike is the main character of the story. The story is told through his eyes and shows how he is trying to raise his son without his wife and not much money. He is trying to give his son the best he can. He is having trouble letting his wife go and moving on with his life. One of the most touching scenes of the book is when he is talking to the cardboard version of his wife. She tells what he needs to hear in order to live his life. I enjoyed the character of Bill as he becomes more of a person. He starts out as a piece of cardboard but in the end he becomes a hero. It was interesting to see how the cardboard is used to reveal the truth about characters. Marcus reveals how sad and alone he really is through his monsters. I liked this book and would recommend it to all-ages.
Additional Info:
Main Characters:
Mike-He is an out-of-work carpenter who is trying to f ind a job to support him and his son. He is also trying to get over the death of his wife.
Cam-He is Mike’s son. He tries to help his father as much as he can.
Bill-He is the cardboard boxer that comes to life. He is loyal to both Mike and Cam.
Tina-She is the next-door neighbor. She has a crush on Mike.
Marcus-He is the neighborhood bully.
Pink Eye-He is Marcus’ henchman. He always has pink eye.
Gideon-He is the one who sells Mike the cardboard.

Theme: Facing darkness, Family, Heroism, Self-awareness

Bibliographic Info:

TenNapel, D. (2012). Cardboard. New York, NY: Scholastic.

Tagline:  Adventure begins when cardboard comes to life!

Lost and Found

Author:  Shaun Tan

Reading Range: 5.6 (AR Finder)

Interest Range:  5-8 (Follett Library Resources)

Plot:  This book features three stories that tell of things that are lost and found.  These three stories were originally published separately then they were gathered together.

Story 1-The Red Tree

This is a simple but visual complex story about a girl who is lost in her life and trying to find her way.

Story 2-The Lost Thing

A boy encounters a being that does not seem to belong anywhere.  He takes it home but he parents tell him that it cannot stay with them.  He decided to find a place where it can be safe and where it can belong.

Story 3-The Rabbits

The rabbits are invaders who come to a place that is different from their own.  They forced their way onto the land and start to change it without regard for what it used to be.  They take the land away from the people who used to live there forcing them to adopted their values and customs.


In the three stories, very few words are used to tell them.  Mostly it is images that convey the feelings and thoughts of the characters.  The illustrations Tan created are very rich in detailed and layered.   All the stories center around the them of losing something and finding something.  In “The Red Tree,” the images can be seen as a metaphor for feeling lost in ones own life.  There is an image of the girl where she is on stage with different object surrounding showing that she does not know who she is supposed to be.  The alien landscapes just magnify how lost and alone she feels in this world.  It is very dreamlike and beautiful.  “The Lost Thing” is the story with the most words but it still has very rich details in the pictures.  This story discuss conformity and what happens when things do not conform.  This story created a world where it is not safe for things that are different even through differences can be wonderful.  “The Rabbits” is the story that I connected to the most because of my background.  I am Native American.  This story can be seen as another metaphor for what happened to Indigenous people when the settlers came to either America or Australia.  The author is Australian and he meant it as a fable for what happened to the Aboriginals.  This one is heartbreaking because in the others stories there is a little hope in the “lostness” but here there is no hope.  I would recommend this book because it shows how beautiful and complex graphic novels can be.  This is a good example of how words and images together can convey something beautiful.

Additional Info:

Main Characters:

The Red Tree:

Girl-She does not have a name but the story follows her through her day.

The Lost Thing:

Boy-He narrators the story of trying to find a place for the Lost Thing.

Lost Thing-It follows around the boy.

The Rabbits:

Rabbits-They come to “The People’s land and take over.

“The People”-They get pushed out by the rabbits.

Themes: Convention and rebellion, Desire to escape, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Vulnerability of the meek

Bibliographic Info:  Tan, S. (2011). Lost and fond. New York, NY: Scholastic.

Tagline: A girl finds a bright spot in a dark world. A boy leads a strange, lost creature home. And a group of peaceful creatures cedes their home to hostile invaders.


Author: Chris Wooding

Graphic Artist: Cassandra Diaz

Reading Range: 3rd grade (AR Finder)

Interest Range:  3rd-6th (Follect Library Resources)

Plot:  Seifer Tombchewer longs for something more in his life.  That is until he is hit over the head and kidnapped by the queen of his country.  He is a dead ringer for the queen’s missing grandson, Prince Talon Pandemonium.  He is forced to pretend to be the prince otherwise he will be feed to Psycho Carnage Beasts.  Seifer has to fool everyone who knew Talon and try to avoid Talon’s enemies.  Also, he has to defend the kingdom from the various enemies who are plotting its downfall.

Review:  This is just a fun, silly book.  It does not take itself too seriously.  Seifer spends most of his time trying to be Talon even through Talon was not a very nice guy.  In fact, Seifer is almost too nice to people nearly blowing his cover several times.  It does end in a cliffhanger.  Hopefully, there is a sequel that explains what happen to Talon.

Additional Info:

Main Characters:

Seifer Tombchewer-He is the hero of the story.  He pretends to be a not so very nice prince.

Lumbago-He is the prime minster of the country.  He is also the one helping Seifer to pretend to be Prince Talon.

Princess Sarcoma-Talon’s sister and heir to the throne.  She knows Seifer is not Talon.

Princess Hypoxia-Talon’s younger sister.

Themes: Coming of age, Desire to escape, Identity crisis

Bibliographic Info:

Wooding, C. (2012). Pandemonium. New York, NY: Scholastic.

Tagline:  Seifer’s life is about to become a royal pain.


Author: George O’Connor

Reading Range:  3rd grade (according to AR Finder)

Interest Range:  8 and up (according to AR Finder)

Plot:   This graphic novel is a retelling of the classic myths that feature Hera.  It tells of her wedding to Zeus and how she dealt with Zeus’ lovers and children.  In particular, the story focuses on her “revenge” against Heracles as he tries to complete his Twelve Labors.  In this version, Hera saves Heracles in life in exchange for him to perform the Twelve labors as an adult.

Review:  This book is for children (or adults) who are interested in Greek mythology.  It has a very interesting view on Hera.  Too often, Hera is seen as a woman scorned who wants revenge against her husband’s lovers and the children that result from those unions.  In this book, Hera is not just the villain and she is seen as just as powerful as Zeus.  Zeus is afraid of her.  She is responsible for making Heracles a hero.  She is the one that is pushing him to greatness instead of punishing him.

Additional Info:  This is the third book in a series called “Olympians.”  These books can read as stand-alone or one after another.  Each book focuses on a Greek god.  There are four books so far in the series-Book 1 is Zeus, Book 2 is Athena, and Book 4 is Hades.

Main Characters:

Hera-Goddess of Marriage

Zeus-King of the Gods

Heracles-Son of Zeus and Alcmenes

Theme: Courage,  Perseverance

Bibliographic Info:

O’Connor, G. (2011). Olympians: Hera the goddess and her glory 3. New York, NY: First Second.

Tagline:  From the wrath of an Olympian comes the Twelve Labors of Heracles!