Graphic Novel Review: The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor
Posted on September 16, 2021 at 7:46 am by Gene Ambaum
The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor. Kokila (Penguin Random House), 2021. 9780525554882. 304pp.
1885. Mei helps her father feed the lumberjacks and the Chinese workers at a logging camp. She’s known for making delicious pies and telling stories, particularly those about Auntie Po, the gigantic mother of all loggers, and her loyal blue buffalo Pei Pei. As violence against Chinese workers closes in on the camp, Auntie Po visits Mei to warn her that things are about to get difficult. Soon one of the workers is beaten, and her father has to move to a nearby Chinatown for safety. (Mei stays with Mr. Anderson, who runs the camp, and her friend, his daughter Bee.) After the lumberjacks rebel against the crappy food they’re being served, Mr. Anderson brings Mei’s dad back, and even gives into his demands about treating the Chinese workers better. It’s a tale of paternal love and friendship and hardship — the dangers of logging are clear — as Mei deals with the ways she’s seen and treated and the fact that her future could be limited because of them.
I first bought a few of Khor’s comics at Seattle’s Short Run, and I really love their series Center for Otherworld Science. You can buy all four issues plus digital copies of much of their other comics work at http://sawdustbear.gumroad.com/ But make sure you buy a copy of this book for your library first.