September 28, 2017


It's hard to know where to start when it comes to Michael Mahin and Evan Turk's collaboration Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters. Every part of the book was created with precision, from the musical flow of the text to the bluesy feel of the illustrations.

Muddy celebrates the life of blues musician Muddy Waters, whose innovative sound paved the way for what became rock and roll. Muddy has always been set on being a musician. Even when his grandmother tells him that being a blues musician won't make him money, his boss robs him of his pride, and record producers tell him he's too country, Muddy's resolved to ignore them all. Instead, he sets out on a journey to learn more about the sounds around him and the song he hears in his heart. And his perseverance is eventually rewarded (after multiple failures) when he gets the chance of a lifetime.

There are few illustrators who I've witnessed grow in talent and  from book to book, taking on new challenges and pushing their own boundaries. Evan Turk is without a doubt one of the most talented illustrators of our day, capturing motion, culture, mood, color, and texture so aptly that readers are automatically pulled into every one of his stories based on what they see on the page. Turk's illustrations are simultaneously minimalistic and highly detailed, striking a fine line between simple lines and shapes to convey space, and layers upon layers of color to bring out tone and light. Turk is an illustrator who is going to be around a long time, and I cannot wait to watch his change over the coming years. 

Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters published from Atheneum in September. 

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