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Bone :: Tall Tales Graphic Novel Review

While camping with Bartleby and the Bone scouts (Ringo, Bingo and Todd), Smiley tells a series of “Tall Tales.” Smiley says the first one is “about the time Thorn tried to get Fone Bone and Phoney Bone to do laundry,” which may not seem too interesting at first. But when Phoney Bone stumbles upon a treasure map, things seem to take a turn for the profitable. Following the map, they have a near-death experience with an eagle before stumbling across the treasure. But when they discover what the treasure is, they aren’t very excited.


Big Johnson Bone

The next two tales follow Big Johnson Bone. Smiley Bone describes the story of his birth, which would have been fatal if he hadn’t been born with a stubborn strength that equipped him to battle Old Man Winter. The next tale described Big Johnson Bone in his teen years. He won the town eating competition—the gorge-a-thon—14 years in a row. But this year, he has some unassuming competition.


The Lost Tale of Big Johnson Bone

The second half of the book is one long tale—The Lost Tale of Big Johnson Bone. He tells a lot of stories in this tale, stories that are hard to believe. But after following his adventure you may realize that these stories aren’t so farfetched. A twister takes him, his donkey Blossom and his monkey Mr. Pip to a valley, where baby animals are living in fear. Their parents were taken away by the evil rat creatures, and now the babies fear for their own lives. But Big Johnson Bone is fearless, and he steps in to save the day.


The Bottom Line

Like all of the Bone books, Tall Tales is extremely entertaining. Jeff Smith changed the face of the graphic novel industry, making them accessible and entertaining for everyone. Even though this may be the last of the Bone series, you can check out Jeff Smith and Tom Sniegoski’s new trilogy, Quest for the Spark.


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Who's your favorite Bone character?

  • The lovestruck Fone Bone
  • The easygoing Smiley Bone
  • The money-hungry Phoney Bone

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