Monday, April 11, 2011

Review #93: Bone

When Isaac, Grace, Lily, and I recorded our very first Bookie Woogie review, Elijah was only 2 years old.  Over the years he's started joining in... slowly... more and more... bit by little bit.  I think he's participated in around 15 reviews so far.  And now that he's five years old, his contributions have started becoming more substantial.

Recently I decided that here on the blog we'll diverge from our group reviews from time to time for some One on One conversations with the kids about books.  And today Elijah gets his own moment in the spotlight!

Dad:  So tell us Elijah... What books did you and Dad just finish reading together?  We read them special, just you and I.
Elijah (age 5):  Bone.
Dad:  Yep, by Jeff Smith.  And how would you describe these books?
Elijah:  I don't know which they are out of these two things... chapter books or comic books.
Dad:  It's kind of a mix of the two.  Nowadays they would call them "graphic novels."  That just means a really long comic book that is divided into chapters.  So you are right - they are a bit of both.
Elijah:  But it isn't the longest story in the world.  There are other books that are way longer than Bone.
Dad:  So, what is a Bone?  Are these like the bones in your body?
Elijah:  They are a different kind of Bone.  Bones are like people, only they are white and they have really big noses.
Dad:  Who is the hero of the books?
Elijah:  Fone Bone.  He never wears clothes.
Dad:  And who are the Bone Cousins?
Elijah:  Phoney Bone is the one with a star on his shirt.  And Smiley Bone has a jacket.  Smiley also has a big nose, and his head is longer than the others.  I think I'm the goodest at drawing Smiley Bone.
Dad:  What kind of adventures do the Bones have?
Elijah:  They explore.  Like climbing high, high mountains.  And exploring woods and stuff like that.  Sometimes they stick together, but they always keep getting spread apart.
Dad:  They do, don't they!  And when they split up, it's always in different combinations.  So what happens in the stories?
Elijah:  There are these Rat Creatures.  They are trying to catch the Bone people.  Because they are hungry.  To the Rat Creatures, the Bones look yummy.  But to us, the Bones just look cool.
Dad:  So Rat Creatures are the bad guys.
Elijah:  Except for one.  His name is Bartleby.  He isn't mean -- he's a good Rat Creature.  He's a young, young Rat Creature.  He's on the Bones' side.
Dad:  So, we've got Bone guys and Rat Creatures.  Is that it?
Elijah:  No, no.  There's an old lady - her name is Grandma Ben.  She is super strong with cows.
Dad:  She can lift cows.
Elijah:  And she's faster than cows.  Stuff like that.  And she has a girl named Thorn.  And Fone Bone is in loooooooove with Thorn.  He writes secret love letters, but he never tells her.
Dad:  So there are some human characters too.
Elijah:  Oh - and there is one more character.  Her name is Briar.  And they call her "The Hooded One."
Dad:  You loved it every time she took her hood off...
Elijah:  No.  I hated it.  She freaks me out with her face.
Dad:  So what else happens in the books?
Elijah:  There are a lot of big wars.  All the bad guys and the good guys -- everybody in the whole world of Bone -- they are all attacking.
Dad:  That's the main storyline, right.  There is a big war coming.  The Rat Creatures are on one side, and the good humans are on the other side.
Elijah:  And also the dragon.  You know... the dragon with the fluffies on his ears.
Dad:  How would you describe these stories?  Funny?  Or exciting?  Or scary?
Elijah:  Cool.
Dad:  Cool?
Elijah:  Yeah.  They are just cool.  Mostly I always said, "Can we read it now?  Can we read it now?  Can we read it now?"  I never wanted to stop.
Dad:  Why did you like them so much?
Elijah:  I liked them because they are exciting.  I don't know my favorite part, but they are fun and exciting.  There were tons and tons and tons of scary parts.  But not too scary.
Dad:  So who would like these books?
Elijah:  My friend Nathan would like them.  And boys in my classes at church.  Some boys.  But for some boys, it would freak them out.  But it wouldn't freak Nathan out.  For Nathan, he would think it was really cool.
Dad:  You and I had read these together, just the two of us for our special reading time.  But the other kids in our family are reading them too.
Elijah:  Everyone is reading them.  Except for Mom.  And Maggie.  Because Maggie is not old enough to read.
Dad:  How old is Maggie?
Elijah:  Three months.
Dad:  She doesn't do much reading.
Elijah:  Yeah.
Dad:  So, what was your favorite part?
Elijah:  I liked it all.
Dad:  Was there a funniest part?
Elijah:  When Bartleby said his first words.
Dad:  We didn't expect him to talk, did we...
Elijah:  It was a surprise.
Dad:  I was reading along, and I didn't know he was going to talk -- I was just as surprised as you -- and I had to quick make up a voice on the spot.
Elijah:  I think it was the same as Ted's voice.  Ted is a little leaf monster.  Bartleby sounded really high and squeaky!
Dad:  And we cracked up.  He's just a baby rat creature.
Elijah:  When he grows up, he'll probably sound like the other rat creatures.
Dad:  Thanks for reading these books with me.  Do you remember any other books we've read together, just you and I?
Elijah:  The first book before Bone was called "James and the Giant Peach."
Dad:  You do remember!  I wondered if you would -- that was a while ago.
Elijah:  Nobody read it except just you and me.
Dad:  It's fun to read with just Dad and one kid sometimes.  Which story did you like better?
Elijah:  I don't know...  I like them the same.  Well, "James and the Giant Peach" is much longer than a Bone book.  But not with all of the books of Bone put together.  All of them put together is WAY longer.
Dad:  Tell us how many Bone books make up the whole story.
Elijah:  Nine!  And we read all nine.
Dad:  Thanks for reading these books with me.  I love you, Bud.
Elijah:  I love you too.  Now can we read Bone?  Let's go read.  Now.

all pictures by Elijah:

dragon with the fluffies on his ears


Phoney Bone

Smiley Bone

Author/Illustrator: Jeff Smith
Originally serialized 1997-2004
Collections published, 2004-2009: Scholastic
Like them?  Here they are


Will Strong said...

I love Bone. It has appeal from 5 years old to 50 years old. Great stuff.

Rose said...

I just wanted to say sir that I've been loving your and your kids' blog. I'm a high school homeschooled girl and I'm so grateful that my parents were willing to keep me and my four brothers home! It's simply wonderful to see another family that is doing the same. :) Sometimes this blog makes me want to be eight again, other times it makes me want to be 32 so I can have a house full of kids of my own and a small library of books I've written myself--but it always makes me laugh!


LinWash said...

I'm glad you featured the Bone series, because I loved reading it.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

I keep hearing about this series, but from reading this review I am positive that my 4 year old girl will be in "freaked out" camp :) Thanks for joining WMCIR!

Jackie Higgins said...

Great review. My boys are still in the under two crowd but I'm trying to get filled in with books boys might love ahead of time :) I love the way you dialogued with your son. what a great example of getting a child to review a book's plot, talk about his feelings, and even make connections to other books!