Booklist Reviews

At long last, and after a few diversions like Tall Tales and the Bone Handbook (both 2010), we return to the Valley that was the setting for Smith's comics-landscape-changing Bone, though this adventure takes place in prose rather than panels. Young Tom Elm has a vision that the little rock he wears around his neck is a chunk of something vital to defeating the Nacht, an ancient dragon-entity that is threatening the Dreaming as well as the Waking World. This first installment in his adventure teams him up with a raccoon, a tired old Veni Yan warrior, a trio of new Bones out adventuring from Boneville, and a couple of less-evil-than-usual but still hilariously stupid Rat Creatures. If none of that makes sense to you, don't worry; there are hordes of readers out there who will clue you in. As long as fans are not expecting a repeat of the old magic and not too disappointed that there isn't nearly enough of Smith's always excellent full-color, full-page artwork helping out, it looks as if they're in for a cheery jaunt back through a beloved world. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

It's time for Tom and his loyal band of human and non-human allies to stop the Nacht, an evil force that threatens the world. In this concluding novel, all of the pieces finally align to lead to a showdown between good and evil. Taut pacing, amiable characters, and a satisfying epilogue will satisfy Bone fans, though newbies will need some background.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

Color by Steve Hamaker. A Veni Yan warrior, a twelve-year-old turnip farmer, and members of the Bone family have felt a darkness creeping into the Dreaming. By graphic novel's end, they have banded together to save the Valley from consumption by a growing evil. This first volume in a new series in the Bone universe demands that readers be entirely familiar with the previous books for comprehension. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 4–8—A full-text adventure set in the world of Smith's iconic "Bone" graphic novels (Scholastic). Young Tom, a Valley turnip farmer, receives a vision that the peaceful otherworld of the Dreaming is under attack. The evil Nacht, a renegade Dragon, seeks to control the dreamland, and through it, the Waking World as well. A mysterious forest woman tells Tom that he has been chosen to lead a quest to find the scattered pieces of the Spark—the light of creation that can drive back the dark power. When his family falls under the Nacht's corrupted sleep spell, Tom realizes that he has no choice and sets out with his best friend, a talking raccoon. Along the way, they are joined by three Bones—inventor Percival and his squabbling niece and nephew; a disillusioned Veni Yan warrior priest; and two Rat Creatures. Tom must mold this oddly assorted crew into a cohesive group if they have any chance of success. As the first of a projected trilogy, the book devotes considerable space to background exposition and character definition. Much of the action involves a series of seeming coincidences and accidents that bring the companions together, but there are chuckles and chills aplenty along the way. Smith's familiar illustrations help link this to the original series. Bone aficionados will appreciate the many references to events and characters from the saga, but enough detail is provided that newbies will feel at home. An exciting new direction for one of the best-known and best-written graphic series available.—Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL

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