Sunday, February 14, 2010

Reader's Diary #581- Jeff Smith: Bone 5, Rock Jaw

The fifth book in Jeff Smith Bone series, Rock Jaw: Master of the Eastern Border, is my least favourite of the books so far.

Usually when the Bone cousins get separated, the story alternates back and forth, letting you know what the others have been up to. However, in this volume, the story remains only on Smiley and Fone Bone. We don't get to see what Phoney, Thorn, Grandma Ben or any of the characters are doing. This in and of itself isn't problematic, it's nice when authors switch their normal pattern up a little. However, I wasn't overly fond of Smiley and Fone Bone's story line this time, and found myself wondering what was going on with the other characters.

In an attempt to return the baby rat creature to the wilderness, Smiley and Fone run into a somewhat grumpy mountain lion named Roque Jaw. He happens to know quite a bit about the inevitable war, but for the life of the Bones, they do not know where his allegiances lie. I liked Roque Jaw's philosophical character, which is a bit of a risk in a children's book, and his pretentious lecturing. His message is basically that good and evil simply depends on what side you're on. However, they also meet a bunch of baby orphaned animals and that's where the problems began. There's just too many! Raccoons, possums, beavers, bugs, snakes, birds, lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my. Reading this aloud to my kids, I ran out of voices! Then the action became a little over the top as well. Kingdok, the head rat creature, pursues them. They escape into the clutches of Roque Jaw. They escape into the clutches of Kingdok, and the so on like a pendulum. It was more silly than exciting. But certainly it had humorous moments and wasn't without charm. As I said above, not my favourite in the series, but certainly not as bad as to turn me off altogether.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Reading this aloud to my kids, I ran out of voices!

Oh I well remember that dilemma. Winnie the Pooh was about as many characters as I could handle at one time.

John Mutford said...

Barbara: One of the earliest books to become a favourite with my kids was a picture book called What Makes a Rainbow? A young rabbit, following the advice of his mother, asks his animal friends and they each respond, based on their own colour. On occasion, I'll still here them reading the book to themselves, using my old voices: the butterfly whispers, the fox is British, etc. I don't think I have a future in voice overs, but it's nice to they made an impression!