Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bayou: Volume One by Jeremy Love

Graphic novel, historical fiction, and fantasy all rolled into one eye-catching and compelling read, Bayou tells the story of Lee Wagstaff, an African-American girl living in Mississippi in 1933. When her white friend, Lily, is captured by Cotton-Eyed Joe, a fantastical creature, only Lee knows the truth, a truth that may possibly set her father free after he is accused of Lily’s disappearance. Lee crosses over into the fantasy world in hopes of bringing Lily back and is aided by Bayou, a friendly monster that vows to protect her. Tropes on southern history, dialect, folktales, religion, music and race relations are explored metaphorically, literally and visually on almost every page. Some pages are ripe with dialogue, while others simply let the artwork establish setting and mood while moving the plot forward. After racing through the first two volumes, this reader was left anxiously awaiting the release of the newest addition to the series. Students seem to be most drawn to the vivid full-color artwork and theme of injustice by their own curiosity of the highly charged setting.

Love, Jeremy. Bayou: Volume One. New York: DC Comics, 2009.

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