This sophisticated contender in the graphic nonfiction market opens with “The Story So Far,” setting the stage for the events that led to the bloody Civil War battle at Gettysburg. Clearly defined art and sharply delineated panels portray all of the horrors of battle: the numerous casualties, both human and animal, the impromptu and severely unhygienic operating rooms and the impact that this event had on those who lived there. A vast cast of characters—an even and improbable dozen—introduced early on does little to help readers follow the action. Rather, this feature obfuscates things, as many of the men have similar looks, varying only slightly in their coiffed hair or a hat and a mustache. It shines in its closing pages, compressing Edward Everett’s two-hour speech into a few panels and giving Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address a good 20 pages to make itself felt. Undoubtedly smarter and more astute than many of its graphic-nonfiction counterparts, this book should speak to those seeking a visual account. (map, author’s notes; footnotes, bibliography, not seen) (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-06-156176-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Bowen Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2008



A striking glimpse into Chinese girlhood during the 1970s and ’80s.

Beginning with a breathtaking dream of riding a golden crane over the city of Wuhan, China, Liu Na, recounts her subsequent waking only to discover that Chairman Mao has passed away. The 3-year-old finds this difficult to process and understand, although she is soon caught up in the somber mood of the event. From there, her life unfolds in short sketches. With this intimate look at her childhood memories, Liu skillfully weaves factual tidbits into the rich tapestry of her life. In the section titled “The Four Pests,” she explains about the four pests that plague China—the rat, the fly, the mosquito and the cockroach (with an additional explanation of how the sparrow once made this list, and why it is no longer on it)—and her stomach-turning school assignment to catch rats and deliver the severed tails to her teacher. In “Happy New Year! The Story of Nian the Monster,” she explains the origins of Chinese New Year, her favorite holiday, and her own vivid, visceral reflections of it: the sights, sounds and smells. Extraordinary and visually haunting, there will be easy comparisons to Allen Say’s Drawing from Memory (2011); think of this as the female counterpart to that work.

Beautifully drawn and quietly evocative. (glossary, timeline, author biography, translations of Chinese characters, maps) (Graphic memoir. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7613-8115-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012


From the Adventures of Geo series , Vol. 1

African-American Geo cuts a suitably chiseled figure in the pictures, but he doesn’t get enough to do and so is really no...

Superhero Geo introduces readers to plate tectonics.

Reviewing information on his way to school for a big geology test, young George transforms himself into “Geo,” a uniformed superhero with a rocket-propelled skateboard and a robotic canine sidekick. In his imaginary adventure, he leaps over sidewalk “faults,” swerves away from “tsunamis” splashed up by a passing truck and saves an elderly lady from falling into an open manhole “volcano.” Meanwhile, supported by visual aids provided by inserted graphics and maps, Geo goes over the convergent, divergent and transform movements of tectonic plates, subduction, magnetic “stripes” paralleling oceanic ridges and a host of other need-to-know facts and terms. All of this is illustrated in big, brightly colored sequential panels of cartoon art hung about with heavy blocks of explication. After the exam comes back with, natch, a perfect score (“I guess all that studying paid off”), Lee, a geophysicist, abandons the story for a final 10 pages of recap and further detail on plate tectonics’ causes, effects and measurement—closing with a description of what geologists do.

African-American Geo cuts a suitably chiseled figure in the pictures, but he doesn’t get enough to do and so is really no more than a mouthpiece—perhaps there will be more of a plot in his next adventure. (online projects, index) (Graphic nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59327-549-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: No Starch Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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