Fangbone! Third Grade Barbarian combines three things that I have always loved; graphic novels, stories about funny kids in school (the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, come to mind) and sword-swinging, helmet -denting barbarians. So imagine the sheer joy I felt while reading Mike Rex's book where he deftly rolls up all of these things into one single, hilarious, raucous, bellowing, zany, barbaric (and sometimes gross) package.
And he even signed it for me with a little sketch!
Fangbone is about a young barbarian warrior (named Fangbone, natch) who goes through the usual trials of trying to prove himself to his barbarian tribe, but never gets a chance because the rest of his uncouth brethren are too busy pointing out the fact that he is a runty little kid, despite the fact that Fangbone wears his courage on his chest like a set of plate armor.
The story kicks off as the army of Drool (the main bad dude) is about to attack Fangbone's clan in order to retrieve the severed big toe of said bad dude, which is the last remaining piece of his body that is needed to resurrect him. But Fangbone's clan isn't about to give that up, so while the warriors battle the evil horde, Fangbone is given the big toe and sent into another dimension by a sorcerer (ZORKO! GORKO! DORKO! DOO!) to keep it safe. And that other dimension happens to be our world.
After a valiant battle with an old truck in a dump heap, Fangbone finds himself in an elementary school, surrounded by a group of... shall we say... special... kids, who are all so odd enough in their own rights that they don't really give him too much grief about wearing fuzzy shorts to school.
Fangbone becomes quick friends with a kid named Bill, who's a little light on the confidence, but is nice enough to show Fangbone the ropes of living in our world, like how to flush a toilet.
I don't want to go too into the story, but suffice it to say that the evil army of Drool sends some nasties to get that big toe and Fangbone must enlist the help of his new cohorts in fighting them (doing wonders for Bill's confidence along the way).
My favorite scene is toward the end of the book when the go toe to toe (no pun intended) with Lord King Bat, who totally looked like the kind of creature I would have drawn all over my Trapper Keeper folders when I was in 3rd grade.
I also love the scene when a squirrel steals the big toe. But I digress.
The artwork in this book is simple, yet skilled, and the monochrome coloring scheme is brilliant, if you ask me. I think I've made it pretty clear that I loved this book and greatly hope that there will be more tales of Fangbone in the future, so I'll shut up now about its cover-to-cover epic-ness.
For those of you that have a child-like heart, or perhaps an actual adventure-loving child in your home, Fangbone is sure to be a major hit... like a beanball to the face (you'll have to read the book to know what that means).
For more about Mike Rex and Fangbone! visit is blog HERE.