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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)
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on July 13, 2015
I'm a mom with a family of boys. We have all the Bentley Boyd Civil War series.

This book doesn't thrill me.

First, it treats Nat Turner as a lunatic, instead of a serious person. Instead of this chapter, I recommend Nat Turner and the Virginia Slave Revolt (Journey to Freedom: The African American Library) Caution parents: this book discusses the violence, but I think it does an excellent job opening the discussion of how do courageous, moral people deal with unrelenting oppression? Use both books together, but understand that Boyd's portrayal of Turner as a crazyhead is condescending.

Second, the section on the Mexican War is exciting, but...

a) Why does the book leave out the information that the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo included $15Million in payment for the territorial cession?
b) Why does Boyd say, "This land comes at a high price. This is the most UNJUST war ever fought by a strong nation against a weak one.", without including the MONETARY price paid to Mexico in settlement for the land?
c) And how "strong" was the US in this war, when Boyd shows 5 pages of the US just barely winning the war?
d) And why does the page titled, "WHAT LAND DID MEXICO GIVE THE US?" not include the information that the land was PAID FOR? Just curious. This is bad history.

The section on Dred Scott is very well done, and the section on John Brown is very entertaining. Those two sections saved the book.

I also recommend Before the Civil War: 1830-1860- Graphic U.S. History (American History (Saddleback)) (except it's VERY Mormon) and the Betsy Maestro US History books for children - well illustrated.
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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.
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on March 8, 2012
While I think comics are an excellent way to teach children I thought in this particular book the author had a definite left leaning bias in how he presented his stories and what he chose to highlight.
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