Sunday, August 4, 2013

Bluffton (Review from the Future)

 I fell in love with Matt Phelan's style of graphic novel when I first read "The Storm in the Barn". There's an ethereal quality to his work that makes both looking and reading his work a wonderful experience. Even though my copy of Bluffton is an Advanced Reader Copy from ALA in June, the story is still wonderful and the black and white drawings evoke a sense of Buster Keaton's movies - or at least that's what I tell myself. I will admit that I haven't seen any of his work, but I promise I will fix that soon.

Goodreads summary: In the summer of 1908, in Muskegon, Michigan, a visiting troupe of vaudeville performers is about the most exciting thing since baseball. They’re summering in nearby Bluffton, so Henry has a few months to ogle the elephant and the zebra, the tightrope walkers and — lo and behold — a slapstick actor his own age named Buster Keaton. The show folk say Buster is indestructible; his father throws him around as part of the act and the audience roars, while Buster never cracks a smile. Henry longs to learn to take a fall like Buster, "the human mop," but Buster just wants to play ball with Henry and his friends. With signature nostalgia, Scott O’Dell Award–winning graphic novelist Matt Phelan visualizes a bygone era with lustrous color, dynamic lines, and flawless dramatic pacing.

It can be difficult to talk about graphic novels like Bluffton because there isn't a lot of dialogue and the story is fairly straightforward. However, Phelan does an amazing job of telling a story without needing page after page of words. In pictures alone, the reader witnesses two coming-of-age stories, when Henry and Buster go from kids following in the footsteps of their fathers to young men who take risks and make their own decisions.

This is a beautifully done book and I can't wait to see it in color!

I'm also behind a bit - Bluffton was released July 23, 2013. Go get a copy!

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