Best Shot in the West: The Adventures of Nat Love
By Patricia C. McKissack and Frederick L. McKissack, Jr., illustrated by Randy DuBurke
Published 2012 by Chronicle Books
Based on his memoirs, this new graphic novel tells the tale of Nat Love, also known as Deadwood Dick, the most famous African-American cowboy in the Old West.
This came through on a new book cart recently and I picked it up, thinking I'd just flip through to get a feel for it. However, once I started it, I couldn't put it down. I was completely engrossed in Nat Love's life story - vividly told here in graphic novel format. I'm surprised that I'd never really heard of Love before this book - though I guess I was never really much of a cowboy fan. There was just something about this book that grabbed me and pulled me in. It's told relatively straightforwardly - Love runs into an old acquaintance while working aboard a train and this acquaintance encourages him to write down his story as he knows someone who might be interested in publishing. Apparently, this is based in fact, as Love did go on to record his adventures and publish his memoirs, on which this book is based. This has basically everything a kid is looking for in a graphic novel or a history book - action, adventure, drama, gunfights, and someone who's really interesting to read about. I think this is a wonderful addition to the world of graphic novels and I wouldn't be surprised to see it make some reading lists.