Title: Bone: The Great Cow Race.
Author: Jeff Smith.
Genre: Graphic novels, fiction, fantasy, YA, adventure, children's books.
Publication Date: 1996.
Summary: Fone Bone and his cousins plan to return home after visiting the village of Barrelhaven with Thorn and Gran'ma Ben. But Phoney risks everything on one last get-rich-quick scheme for the town's annual Great Cow Race. As usual, Phoney's plans go disastrously awry, and Boneville seems further away than ever. Meanwhile, ominous signs indicate that a war is brewing, and Fone finds himself helping his friends defend their valley from a formidable enemy.
My rating: 9/10
My Review: The second volume of this series remains consistent with the first in its humour, mystery, and adorableness. I particularly like how Smith reveals the mystery that surrounds basically the entire plot, and the fact that there is a mystery at all, very gradually. While the Bone cousins are contemplating getting back to Boneville, the plot flashes to fragments of evil Rat Creatures, whose plans remain ambiguous, though clearly somehow tied into the coming of the Bone cousins to the valley. You are also unsure of the magical parameters of the universe - people don't believe in dragons (though they exist nonetheless and some characters seem to purposefully deny their existence), while monsters, giant Bees, and Rat Creatures are accepted and interacted with as a given. I have a huge weakness for back-story, and the hints of it that Smith gives, and the promise of more, is something that keeps me more interested in going on with the series than anything else. Aside from that, the books are so fun to read. Phoney's fake-cow scheme is hilarious, and the Rat Creatures inherent dumbness colours the story-line very well.