The fifth/third/upteenth (this was a month with nothing but a series of separate books that tell one story) installment in this month's What Should Kester Read? is Jeff Smith's epic collection, Bone. This month's first installment, Persepolis, was excellent, but also exactly what I expected it to be; mostly memoir/bildungsroman mixed with current events/recent history. Maus was equally good (maybe even better) and more of a surprise; what I assumed was simply a different take on the holocaust turned out, also, to be the story of a father and a son and wives, mothers, and long dead brothers. But Bone proved to be the biggest surprise and my favorite of this month's picks.
What I had assumed would be a fun read that my son might enjoy (it is and he will) turned out to be one of the greatest graphic novels and most amazing adventure stories that I have ever read. Bone is the last name of three main character cousins (Fone, Phoney, and Smiley) that, at first glance, look like Casper the Friendly Ghost with legs. Don't let their cartoony nature fool you. These characters are certainly funny (Phoney and Smiley, especially), but they are also kind and earnest and complex. Booted from Boneville, the Bone cousins find themselves in a place and among a people like nothing they have ever seen. There is magic and miracles and multiple mysteries, to boot. There are even rodents of unusual size. Which is a happy coincidence, because this story has all the elements I love about the film, The Princess Bride. It is that funny and that fantastic. It is everything you could want in an epic adventure. It is over 1300 pages and I read it in less than a week.