Scholastic, New York, 2007-2009
Borrowed from the library.
For the past couple of years many older elementary students I know have told me “YOU HAVE TO READ BONE!” I had no idea what they were talking about until I stumbled upon Rose: A Bone Prequel.
Bone is a wonder. Full of characters with big noses, dragons, evil rat creatures, an undiscovered princess and a cranky old women, it is a series of stories filled with mystery, adventure and some terrifying battles. Mostly it is about loyalty, friendship and following through on your promises. There is now a master volume, some 1300 or so pages, but I found reading the books from Volume 1 to 9 to be just perfect.
I love Smith’s artwork, an interesting mix of detail and simplicity, the three comic Bone cousins running about in beautifully drawn and colored forest landscapes and village marketplaces.
There is a Boneville website and an school library controversy. In Minnesota a parent attempted to have the series banned from all the elementary schools in their child’s district. A review committee has heard both sides of the case and voted 10 to 1 against the ban. To quote Melinda Martin, a media specialist from the school district:
“It’s important to understand selection from censorship,” she said. “I respect her right to object to the series, but not for her to censor it for the rest. I feel you would be doing a disservice to our district if you remove this book from our elementary schools.”
It is heartening to find a review committee with such sensibility!