A speck of dust is a tiny thing. In fact, five of them could fit into the period at the end of this sentence.
On a clear, warm Sunday, April 14, 1935, a wild wind whipped up millions upon millions of these specks of dust to form a duster--a savage storm--on America's high southern plains.
The sky turned black, sand-filled winds scoured the paint off houses and cars, trains derailed, and electricity coursed through the air. Sand and dirt fell like snow--people got lost in the gloom and suffocated . . . and that was just the beginning.
Don Brown brings the Dirty Thirties to life with kinetic, highly saturated, and lively artwork in this graphic novel of one of America's most catastrophic natural events: the Dust Bowl.
"*Starred Review* Concise and clear in imagery, text, and layout, Brown's (Henry and the Cannons, 2013) nonfiction examination of the Dust Bowl contextualizes its genesis in geological and cultural history, the dynamics of its climatological presentation, and the effects on both the landscape and Depression-era High Plains farmers. The pen-and-ink artwork, digitally painted in burnished and dusty brown and yellow hues and the shock of blue that comes with the rain that eventually clears the air is combined with swirling text, along with well-researched and minimally descriptive explanations and occasional speech balloons attributed to anonymous residents and observers. The brevity of this presentation heightens rather than diminishes its power to evoke the history, and an ample list of resources provides plenty of opportunities for further research. A closing photo of the 2011 dust storm in Arizona emphasizes that the Dust Bowl wasn't an isolated incident. This is a complete visual package, from the whirly, mud-colored cover design through the sudden reintroduction of color only after the dust storms abate. The Dust Bowl, as experienced by its survivors, truly comes to life in this compelling look at an important moment in American history.--Goldsmith, Francisca Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"The tale of the decade-long drought that laid waste to American plains and ruined the lives of countless farmers is a somber read, but Brown (America Is Under Attack) devotes himself to telling it well, enhancing his expertly paced panels with graphs, text boxes, cutaway views, and extensive quotations from those who endured and survived. He explains how ranchers failed on the plains ("Cattle lacked the sturdiness of bison, and the summer heat and winter blizzards wiped them out"), and how the farmers who replaced them were bamboozled into thinking they could do better on the same ungiving land. WWI inflated wheat prices, the end of the war sent them crashing, and then the drought hit. Brown resists overstatement; a lone farmer's puzzled look up at the sky is more poignant than any frown. Only the physical descriptions of dust storms pall as later passages revisit details covered earlier. In the end, Brown ties the story of that catastrophe to the one that faces the country now: "In 2011, scorching heat came back and the rain disappeared." Readers won't miss the point. Ages 12-up. Agent: Angela Miller, the Miller Agency. (Oct.)? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved