Maria wakes at the end in a singed easy chair and resolves to quit cold turkey. The target audience, having certainly been...



In a graphic novelette that wears its agenda on both sleeves and on every other garment, a young Latina mother moves through clouds of dialogue balloons filled with anti-smoking arguments.

Blowing off pleas to stop lighting up by her baby’s father, her widowed mother and the television, Maria falls asleep with a cigarette in her hand. She wakes to a dream world in which she has burned down her house, meets her repentant father in the hospital (“If I’d only realized that the only gift I was leaving you was asthma and a dirty habit…”) and is whisked off with a pregnant fellow patient to a confrontation with the witchy, bitchy—and, in Brown’s garishly colored, crudely drawn cartoons, hideously thin—head of the “Tarburro” corporation. She gloats: “Lovely, young parent smokers! Your children are my children!” For readers who aren’t already browbeaten into insensibility by the barrage of information, Jaime caps the episode with seven pages of statistics (mislabeled “Factoids”), websites and quiz questions.

Maria wakes at the end in a singed easy chair and resolves to quit cold turkey. The target audience, having certainly been exposed to similar anti-smoking screeds already, is unlikely to follow suit. (Graphic novel. 12-16)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-935826-20-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Kalindi Press

Review Posted Online: April 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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It’s a lot to take in at one sitting, but this anatomical extravaganza really gets to the heart of the matter. Not to...


A theatrical introduction to human anatomy, as well-choreographed as it is informative.

In 11 “Acts” hosted con brio by a skeletal impresario (“Bring out the lungs!”), Wicks parades a revue of body systems across a curtained stage. It’s a full program, with a teeming supporting cast from Dopamine to Diaphragm, Golgi Body to Gastroenteritis joining more-familiar headliners. The presentation opens with a zoom down to the cellular and even molecular levels to lay foundations for later macro and micro views of digestion, infection, and disease. Following this, the five senses (only five), the “dance of the oxygen fairies,” allergic reactions, and other anatomical processes that make up each system’s major components, most sporting cheery emoji-style faces, expressively demonstrate their respective functions. The reproductive system’s named parts deliver a frank but visually discreet turn with descriptions of erections and fertilization but no direct depictions, and it stops with the onset of puberty. The performances are enhanced by labeled diagrams, pitches on relevant topics from the importance of immunization and proper nutrition to synonyms for “fart,” and lists of important words and further resources. A few miscues aside (no, the speed of sound is not invariant), it’s a grand show, with a logically placed intermission following a peek into the bladder and a literal “wrap” at the end as the emcee puts herself together from inside out.

It’s a lot to take in at one sitting, but this anatomical extravaganza really gets to the heart of the matter. Not to mention the guts, nerves, veins, bones…. (glossary, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62672-277-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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A flawed history.



Veteran graphic novelist Hoskin (The Taj Mahal, 2019, etc.) turns to the history of astronomy and the fight for heliocentrism.

Humans have been stargazers for as long as we know, and contributions to the science of astronomy have come from cultures all over the world. Here, Hoskin and illustrator Kumar (Hamlet, 2019, etc.) use the graphic-novel format to present a pivotal point in the history of science. Through the 1500s and 1600s, amid the Reformation and dawning of Enlightenment in Europe, astronomers Copernicus, Bruno, and Galileo used advances in data and mathematics to make a case against the long-held view that the Earth is the center of the universe, around which all else rotates. While stories of the three astronomers whose work at times ran afoul of the Catholic Church are presented, the work of other relevant and notable scientists is completely left out, including the early heliocentrist Aristarchus, while others, like Kepler, receive only a passing mention. It is clear the author is presenting a case of science versus the church more than a full history of how a sun-centered universe (and later solar system) came to be accepted. This along with other errant or confusing statements makes for uneven reading. Backmatter presents information about how the planets got their names as well as the history of the Indian space program and notable Indian scientists.

A flawed history. (planetary information, timelines, biographies) (Graphic nonfiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-93-81182-96-3

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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