Monday, July 29, 2013

The "Yearbook" Spread

One last preview of Donner Dinner Party, before it comes out next month. This is from the back of the book. Every member of the Donner Party is here. The darkened squares are the ones who didn't make it. Follow the key at the top to find out how they died.

Yesterday, we got our first review for DONNER DINNER PARTY, care of the San Francisco Chronicle!

 Donner Dinner Party By Nathan Hale
(Amulet; 130 pages; $12.95; ages 8-up)

Heading up to Tahoe on Interstate 80? A tidy graphic novel recounts the mess at the summit in the winter of 1846-47. Quick summary: Things go from bad to worse for a wagon train headed from Illinois to California, and there is nothing left to eat but each other. The narrator is Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale, who foresees another gruesome chapter in American history right before the British hang him in 1776. (With the same name as the real-life author, he ties together the "Hazardous Tales" series.) Although it's based on somber truths, irreverence rules with Mad magazine edge and snarky asides. Still, the main themes are intact: arduous journey, bad choices, hubris, hunger, cold and an infamous end.

Susan Faust is a librarian at San Francisco's Katherine Delmar Burke School. E-mail: