Bone: Rose, by Jeff Smith

This is a great story for any child who loved the Bone books. It is a prequel of sorts to the original series, but it is not necessary to have read the Bone books to enjoy this adventure. The graphic novel is about a princess named Rose who, with her elder sister Briar, is learning about the power of dreams in preparation for one day taking over the kingdom. The two sisters could not be more different. Rose is headstrong, beloved by her parents and their subjects, and talented at the dream powers necessary to ruling. Briar, on the other hand, while older, is less talented and less eager to please than her sister. When a dragon attacks a village and the ancient evil Lord of the Locusts begins to stir, the sisters must choose their paths, for good or ill.

This tale would be perfect for any child who waited to know more about Granma Ben and the dragons. Vess is my favorite graphic novel artist and his work here is superb. The images are brightly colored and vivid, and he completely changes the style when the text is relating a fable or dream. And Rose is a perfect heroine. Like Rapunzel, she is feisty and adventurous. She does what she thinks is right (even when it’s dangerous or might get her into trouble); she is loyal and kind and fierce. Rose does not always make wise decisions and her impulsive behavior often gets her into trouble, like when she runs off into the night to fight the rogue dragon with no idea how to defeat it. Smith writes exciting battle scenes and wonderful myths and legends (dreamily illustrated by Vess). At the end of this book I found myself longing for the next installment. Adventure, suspense, mystery, romance – this story has it all!

Why I recommend this graphic novel:
As mentioned above, Rose is a wonderful character. Her story is entertaining and suspenseful – all the more so because the reader really empathizes with Rose. She is a very sympathetic character because she’s so passionate and headstrong. She is not afraid to stand up for herself. She owns up to her mistakes and tries to make them right. As always, it’s nice to see a heroine who isn’t perfect. I love the Bone books, so I highly recommend this graphic novel for any girl who wants to know more about her favorite butt-kicking Granma.

Smith, Jeff. Bone: Rose. Illus. by Charles Vess. GRAPHIX, 2009. Gr. 4-8


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