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BEST SHOT IN THE WEST by Patricia C. McKissack Kirkus Star


The Adventures of Nat Love

by Patricia C. McKissack & Fredrick L. McKissack Jr. & illustrated by Randy DuBurke

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8118-5749-9
Publisher: Chronicle Books

On a train out of Denver in 1902, two old cowboys reminisce about the Old West.

Nat Love is now a Pullman porter on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, but he was once “Deadwood Dick,” a famous cowboy, every bit the equal to western heroes Bat Masterson, Calamity Jane, the Earps and Wild Bill Hickok. As a porter, he suffers rude treatment and racist comments, but when William Bugler boards the train, the “[w]orld’s best shooter and [the] world’s best scout” recall old times, and Bugler (an invented character) convinces Nat to write down his stories for his Kansas City newspaper. The remainder of the graphic novel is Nat’s stories—his life as a slave in Davidson County, Tenn., his work as a cowpuncher and his 20 years of adventures in a world that no longer exists. The text is complemented by acrylic-and-pen full-color illustrations (seen only in black-and-white for review), in which DuBurke uses his experience as a comic-book artist to capture the dramatic energy of line and gesture, just right for a gun-slinging hero. A perfect use of the graphic format to celebrate the life of a legendary American.

History that’s fun to read…and important.

(authors’ note, illustrator’s note) (Historical fiction. 10 & up)