Hey guys it’s Sam, back with yet another jolly good visit from the bookie of all bookies! (I should really alter next Monday.) But on 2Sam2Mwak (a site apparently no one feels like visiting), I released a JGB review about the first Bone book, Out from Boneville. (You can see that specific review here!) I won’t tell you how it broke down, but I can tell you how the next adventure starring our lovable Bone threesome broke down. It’s sweet with just as much sour, it’s The Great Cow Race.

The two covers of "The Great Cow Race". The left one is the 2005 in-color edition that I read. The right one is the 1996 original edition.

Released in 2005 (or 1996, if you want the actually old version) alongside the preceding Out from Boneville, this book revolves around the Bone cousins plan to return to Boneville after checking out the Barrelhaven village with Thorn and Gran’ma Ben. But Phoney risks everything on one final get-rich-quick scheme for the town’s annual Great Cow Race, and Smiley’s involved dressing up as the “ferocious and terrifying” Mystery Cow. As usual, Phoney’s plans backfire, making Boneville farther away than ever. Meanwhile, ominous signs indicate that warfare is brewing, and F. Bone finds himself helping his pals defend their valley from a formidable villain. The Thorn-Bone (or, if you enjoy “pairings”, Thone or Born) subplot features Thorn getting interested with a shirtless honey-seller named Tom, but F. Bone gets in an argument with him, ending in the fact that he has enormous muscle in his skinny arms.

What I meant to say about “sweet and sour” was that this book was definitely lighter on violence and other content than its last installment (Thorn and Bone’s relationship has finally been appropriately rekindled), but there are still appearances of the now-more-humorous breed of rat monsters, salty language (“shut up”s and “stupid”s, just like last time), and Smiley’s still smoking and handling a job at a bar like usual. Not much of a back-premise difference, is what I’m trying to say. Definitely more of a recommended book now.

 0 out of 5 – Educational value – This aspect is not featured.

 3 out of 5 – Positive messages – Phoney and Lucius (the old looking but buff meat link in the book) both say they have faith in Gran’ma Ben that she could win the Cow Race and to believe in herself, by far the most enticing and inspiring scene in the book.

2 out of 5 – Positive role models – Compared to the last adventure, Phoney may have actually lightened up. Gran’ma Ben still believes she has a chance of victory when almost everyone in the town refuses to bet on her for the Cow Race.

 5 out of 5 – Ease of read – The Great Cow Race definitely makes Bone a more recommended graphic-novel series (no wonder it’s a million-selling series!), considering the fact that it jumped out of the bushes with an amazing new story and technique that kindles the book (and a reader’s heart) even with the same old sub-premise. A great book that’s worth reading even if you’re younger than I recommended with Out from Boneville!

2 1/2 out of 5 – Violence – Ratlike monsters do return in this book, but in a more humorous matter. Lucius does slip down a roof, followed by 11 more panels of painful sound effects, but it is unknown if he survived. Phoney gets tied to a stake and bombarded with eggs, and they almost harden his mouth shut.

 1 1/2 out of 5 – Inappropriate Content – Thorn and Bone’s relationship has been rekindled into an appropriate manner, so there’s no more sexual content between the two of them. A honey-seller named Tom does run his stand without a shirt (exposing humanly exaggerated muscle).

1 out of 5 – Language – “Shut up” is said about once, followed by several uses of “stupid”. That’s right. No more “oh my God”. OMG.

1 out of 5 – Product Placement – The Great Cow Race is the second installment in the Bone series, which would grow to become one of the most famous graphic novel series. No mentioning of consumerism in the actual book.

2 out of 5 – Drinking, Drugs, and/or Smoking – Phoney and Smiley work at a bar, and, like usual, Smiley is seen in almost all panels he’s in with a cigarette in his teeth. Right in between sessions of mad Mystery Cow “rampaging” in his hut, Smiley even stops to smoke his cigarette in one panel.

Entertainment: A+ (5 points)

Fun: A+ (5 points)

Smarts: A (5 points)

Style: A (5 points)

Read-Again Ratio: A+ (5 points)

Humor: A+ (5 points)

Final score: 30 out of 30!! (OH MY GOODNESS! THAT’S OUR FIRST PERFECT SCORE!), 7 stars out of 5, 96% out of 100%

CONSENSUS: The Great Cow Race definitely rights its predecessor’s wrongs, and with a new sweet-n-sour story of adventure, humor, and light violence and inappropriateness, this book may serve as the best book of the pack!

PRICE: You’re not slipping out of this one. You know you want this book. You just don’t know it yet. At Amazon, the book charges for a regular $6.24 with 43% of the savings. 83 new copies go for $2.50, 172 used ones go for a penny, and 5 collectibles go for $5.89. Barnes & Noble charges it (with a surprising 4 1/2 star rating) for the same big regular price, with the same big regular savings. But the used-and-new marketplace edition goes for $1.99 with 81% of the savings! What a righteous deal!

RENT, BUY, OR SKIP?: Reread this post about five times, and problem-solve this one yourself.


First perfect score. Oh my goodness. 30 out of 30. That’s amazing. The rarest score. Anyway, while I’m busy being fazed by this book’s first perfect JGB score, you can go and subscribe, like, rate, and comment. That’s our usual routine, right? Anyway, go get this book. Seriously. Right now. Get off your chair and go get it. I’ll be waiting right here…

With all due respect,


p.s. Bet I can read number three before you!…