cover image Yellow Dog Blues

Yellow Dog Blues

Alice Faye Duncan, illus. by Chris Raschka. Eerdmans, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5553-4

A Black child named Bo Willie goes to feed his pet, Yellow Dog, and discovers that “My puppy love... was gone” in this picture book introduction to the musical history behind the Delta Blues. On the dog’s tail, Bo Willie heads down the Mississippi Blues Trail, traveling Highway 61, significant for the number of musicians born nearby; visiting Dockery Plantation, where “Muddy Waters played the blues”; and arriving at Blues Club Merigold, “to shimmy, shake, and boogie.” When someone reports a sighting of Yellow Dog with a band, Bo Willie realizes, “Yellow Dog moved to Memphis!... He sings the blues on Beale Street now.” Duncan’s writing is the stuff of bluesy poetry, full of heart in portraying Bo Willie’s love for Yellow Dog and journey through a significant region. Raschka’s illustrations, created from embroidery thread and fabric paint, give the book a handmade feel. Back matter contextualizes the journey. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)