Xpress Reviews: Graphic Novels | First Look at New Books, May 4, 2012

Week ending May 4, 2012

McKissack, Patricia C. & Fredrick L. McKissack Jr. (text) & Randy DuBurke (illus.). Best Shot in the West: The Adventures of Nat Love. Chronicle. 2012. c.136p. ISBN 9780811857499. $19.99. F/AUTOBIOG
Among the mostly unsung African American cowboys, Nat Love made his name as Deadwood Dick for skillful riding, cattle handling, and marksmanship while surviving capture by Indians and a run-in with lawman Bat Masterson. Born a slave in Tennessee, he was taught to read by his father and, after emancipation, went west for the life of the range and rodeo. As a cowboy, Love enjoyed 20 years of respect and adventure he would not have had otherwise in a newly reunited country that was to ache with slavery’s legacy for more than a century. Thirty years of subsequent retirement as a railroad porter gave him time to write his autobiography, which the McKissacks, who have coauthored more than 100 books on African American history, here fictionalize only lightly and mine for lively anecdotes. DuBurke’s people seem almost like black-and-white daguerreotypes set off within painted color backgrounds, which are more vivid in the action sequences. The effect gives a historical feel while lending visual interest.
Verdict An attractive and addictive read for teens and up, this will appeal to fans of adventure comics and Westerns. A short list of books and web links would have been useful, such as Love’s autobiography, available free online.‚ Martha Cornog, Philadelphia

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"