The top geologist at the Fizzmont Institute of Rad Science takes a solo journey right through the planet. It’s science! With monsters!
This unusually sized book—4 1/2 inches high by 13 inches long—contains appropriately long, skinny black-and-white scenes replete with finely inked detail and is designed to be turned 90 degrees and read vertically. Chad sends his intrepid explorer—depicted as a tiny, round-headed outline figure with rubbery limbs—down (and, for the second half, up, after a 180-degree turn) a continuous winding tunnel defined by masses of individually drawn boulders, bones and embedded artifacts. The text is delivered in comic-book–style dialogue, with balloons of hard science (“There are three common types of lava: basaltic, andesitic, and rhyolitic….”) interspersed with exclamations (“Crawling Curies, look at those bones!”). The nattering narrator not only encounters geological wonders, but complex mining works, teeming cities of sluglike “Subvisors,” all sorts of decidedly weird-looking giant creatures, including a “Quadclops” so huge that the journey necessarily takes an alimentary turn, and a host of toothy subterranean and aquatic attackers. Fellow travelers will understand why Leo breaks into tears when at last he emerges on a hill above Taipei.
“Science is no walk in the park,” he rightly proclaims. Also: “Long live geology!” (Graphic fiction/nonfiction hybrid. 7-10)