Publishers Weekly (STARRED review)
"Barton offers an immersive, engaging, and unflinching portrait of the difficulties of the Reconstruction era, while Tate's cartoonlike artwork softens moments of cruelty and prejudice without diminishing them."
Booklist (STARRED review)
"The fascinating story of John Roy Lynch's life in slavery to his election to the U.S. House of Representatives at age 25 gets a stirring treatment here. . . . Tate's often expansive illustrations emphasize important incidents in the text. . . . The emphasis in other illustrations is on faces, full of emotion, which adds to the power of the telling, and the rich, soft tones of Tate's palette welcome the eye to linger."
School Library Journal
"In this inspiring picture book biography, Barton recounts how John Roy Lynch went from teenage slave to state representative in just 10 years during Reconstruction. . . . Tate's illustrations, rendered in mixed media, ink, and gouache on watercolor paper, are extraordinary and carry the lengthy story well. . . . Teachers will find this remarkable story of hope and perseverance a valuable supplement to social studies lessons on the Civil War and Black History Month."
"Published while the United States has its first African-American president, this story of John Roy Lynch, the first African-American speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, lays bare the long and arduous path black Americans have walked to obtain equality. The title's first three words-'The Amazing Age'-emphasize how many more freedoms African-Americans had during Reconstruction than for decades afterward. . . . A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering."
"More than just an inspirational story of a former slave who becomes a landholder, judge, and United States Congressman, it is a story that focuses on the great possibilities presented during the period of Reconstruction. . . . A powerful, historical reminder of what was, what might have been, and what is."
Librarian's Quest (blog)
"What is most impressive about the writing of Chris Barton in this title is his ability to captivate the reader immediately with his frank discussion of the events in which John Roy was born, raised and lived. . . . Don Tate recreates historical Mississippi for readers. Gorgeous two page spreads with intricate detail depict momentous occasions in John Roy Lynch's life and in the lives of others. . . . A remarkable biography. This is a man with whom we should all be familiar. The blend of narrative and pictures is compelling from beginning to end."
Nonfiction Detectives (blog)
"Barton highlights Lynch's ingenuity, focus, and luck. . . . Tate successfully balances the cheerfulness of Lynch's accomplishments with the dark times of violence."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A useful contribution to a period of American history largely unexplored in picture-book format."
"Picture book this is, yes, but I guarantee that unless you happen to be a post-Civil War scholar, you'll have something to learn inside these informative pages."
Jen Robinson's Book Page
"The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch is a book that belongs on library shelves everywhere. It is beautifully executed, interesting, and not to be missed."
"This beautiful biography should be in every library frequented by young readers and introduced to them by parents and teachers who will also be amazed by the time and the man introduced to them in these pages."
Mississippi Library Commission
"A great introduction to some hard subjects — slavery and Reconstruction — for upper elementary and middle school readers. . . . Highly recommended."
"Chris Barton has penned another fascinating picture-book biography. . . . With its timeline and engaging mixed-media illustrations by Don Tate, this book helps to fill the big gap for books about the Reconstruction Era."
Reading While White (blog)
"I can't recall when I've seen a book for children that is so deliberate about calling out racism for what it is. And [Chris Barton] does it with such clear, simple language, making this complex period in history accessible to young readers, just as Don Tate's clear stylized illustrations do. Even though the illustrations use a cartoon style, there are no happy, smiling slaves here. What we see instead is the pain and suffering they endured and later, the look of pride and determination on the face of John Roy Lynch, a free man. . . . Chris Barton's book can serve as a model for White authors who choose to write about African American history for children."