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Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters Hardcover – September 5, 2017

4.6 out of 5 stars 38 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 3—This picture book biography tells the story of the early life of McKinley Morganfield (1913–83), aka Muddy Waters, an American blues legend. Born in rural Mississippi and raised by his Grandma Della, Waters was interested in music from an early age and improvised his own homemade instruments. He faced opposition throughout, from disapproving family members to sharecropper bosses, but resisted and persevered, as he was "never good at doing what he was told." Eventually Waters moved to Chicago, where he helped develop the unique "Chicago Blues" style, merging the popular jazz of the day with traditional Delta blues from the South. The story is lyrically told with a lilting cadence by debut author Mahin. His descriptions are vivid (the "sound of the delta, buzzing and mad like an angry hornet's nest looking for a fight"), and his explanations of blues music are simple and accessible. Turk's mixed-media illustrations leap off the page. His folk-art images weave together painting with newspaper clipping collages, pastel lines, and ink prints to create a truly recognizable style, rich with color and texture. Music is portrayed in abstract patterns and zigzag lines, and the soul of the blues sings out through the pages. VERDICT A worthy addition to biography collections, shedding light on an important figure in U.S. music history.—Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA


* "The words and pictures here mix exuberance with melancholy. Mahin’s words have a beat all their own, capturing the lows and highs with poetic verve. Turk’s watercolor, ink, and collage artwork fills pages, exploding with a neon intensity—the equivalent of a dynamic guitar riff . . . Read the book, then get kids the music.” -- Booklist, Starred Review, July 2017

"This poetic celebration of Muddy Waters' musical truth is lifted still higher by Turk's extraordinary art.” -- Kirkus Reviews, 7/1/17

“Lyrically told with a lilting cadence by debut author Mahin. . . . Turk’s mixed-media illustrations leap off the page. . . . The soul of the blues sings out through the pages.” -- School Library Journal, July 2017

“Like Waters’s music after landing in the Windy City, Turk’s artwork is electric—wild strokes of marker and oil pastel vibrate with energy. And Mahin’s equally vivid writing will almost certainly send readers after Waters’s catalogue.” -- Publishers Weekly, August 7, 2017

“Mahin’s text is engaging, rhythmic, soulful, and written to reflect the blues that influenced Muddy Waters. . . . Turk’s expressionistic mixed-media illustrations, many of them double-page spreads, aptly convey the emotions associated with Muddy Waters’s music.” -- The Horn Book, September/October 2017

* “Turk’s mixed-media and collage artwork roils with waves of darkness and explosive color, even as it models compositional control, and Muddy is always defined with an electric hue that keeps him in sharp focus. . . .  Mahin’s lyricism and rolling cadence make the text a readaloud delight.” -- BCCB, Starred Review, September 2017

Product details

  • Lexile Measure : 620L
  • Grade Level : Preschool - 3
  • Item Weight : 1.35 pounds
  • Hardcover : 48 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1481443496
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1481443494
  • Publisher : Atheneum Books for Young Readers (September 5, 2017)
  • Product Dimensions : 11 x 0.3 x 11 inches
  • Reading level : 4 - 8 years
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 38 ratings