on August 6, 2013
Boyd combines the best aspects of historian and comic book author in this series. All of the Chester titles are excellent, but this is one of my favorites.
It is clear that this historian is fluent in comics. The layouts are engaging and dramatic, and always imaginative. Buy this for your child to help him or her learn history; buy it for your child if he or she loves art, as well, because the use of space, color, and perspective will grab your young artist's imagination as much as the information will. The villainously looming Roger Taney is a favorite of mine.
Another commenter felt that this "tilts left", but I disagree. In fact, I especially appreciate the way that Boyd shows both sides of those 19th century debates, thereby enriching students' understanding of the complexity of the conflicts. There ARE some villains defending slavery (Taney, among others), and Boyd does not dabble in false equivalencies, but the positions of the day are well summarized without being reduced to partisan talking-points. The book also doesn't gloss over the violence of Nat Turner and John Brown. These topics also appear in Boyd's other books (I am thinking of Harriet Tubman, in particular, who stars in the "Wonder Women" title).
(Disclosure: I am a schoolteacher and I know Bentley Boyd)
on October 6, 2006
Boyd's Chester the Crab Comics are solid history that appeals to young readers. The timeline and bright, comic format make the books easy to read and Chester, the wise and wise-cracking crab is the guide through visits to each time and place in the past. But don't let the format fool you, even topics like slavery in Slavery's Storm are given complexity. Boyd does not shy away from painful parts of the American past and young readers feel like they are taken seriously when they are presented with the details that make history full of contradictions. My 8 year old son asks for these books.