This book chronicles the adventures of Big Johnson Bone– Frontier Hero, founder of Boneville, and venerable ancestor of the Bone cousins (Smiley, Phoney and Fone). Big Johnson Bone hitches a ride on a twister with his mule (Blossom) and his monkey (Mr. Pip) and lands in the middle of a valley that should be very familiar to readers of the Bone series. The talking animals of the valley beg Big Johnson for aid against the invading rat creatures because their guardian, a small dragon named Stillman, is of no use (Stillman can’t breathe fire and is reduced to throwing rocks). Big Johnson Bone agrees to help, of course, and pretty soon he’s swinging rat creatures about by their tails. He runs into trouble in the form of the Rat Queen’s son, a 50-foot rat creature named Tyson, who swallows him whole. But Big Bone Johnson does prevail, and we learn why the rat creatures chop off their tails. There’s also a bonus story, drawn by Stan Sakai (author of the Usagi Yojimbo series), about an obnoxious talking pig named Riblet, whom the rat creatures kidnap and then can’t wait to return. This is a fine addition to the Bone series, although the story got a bit too Looney Tunes for me– adults can read and appreciate most of the Bone series, but this one is more for kids.
Stupid, Stupid Rat Tails : The Adventures of Big Johnson Bone, Frontier Hero
By Jeff Smith, Tom Sniegoski
Art by Stan Sakai
Cartoon Books 2000