Choppy storytelling doesn’t lessen the power or truth of the stories.

SURVIVORS OF THE HOLOCAUST

TRUE STORIES OF SIX EXTRAORDINARY CHILDREN

Shackleton works very hard to protect readers from the stories she’s presenting.

Each chapter of this graphic novel recounts the true experiences of a Jewish child who survived the Holocaust, and the stories, told by the survivors and edited by Shackleton, can be painful to read. Arek was nearly sent to a gas chamber at Birkenau and had to watch a girl being pulled away from her mother by the guards. But each chapter ends with the child living in a safe place. This is not to say that every chapter has a happy ending. One boy sees rockets exploding during an air raid. A girl named Suzanne finds shelter on a farm far out in the country and, ironically, doesn’t learn that the war has ended until two years after it’s over. But every segment concludes on a positive note, as in: “Suzanne was eventually rescued by the Red Cross and taken to live with her grandmother in…England.” This makes some sections of the book feel truncated, but readers may be grateful for the relief. Suzanne even ends up surrounded by farm animals in a truly lovely illustration. Whittingham’s character designs are inventive and, in their bleakest moments, resemble the animated sequences in Pink Floyd’s The Wall, which seems appropriate, since the book was inspired by animated films from the BBC.

Choppy storytelling doesn’t lessen the power or truth of the stories. (glossary, timeline, index, recommended websites) (Graphic nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8892-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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

THE INCREDIBLE PLATE TECTONICS COMIC

From the Adventures of Geo series , Vol. 1

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. 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Clotted with facts, it barely scratches the surface when it comes to immunological details or ethical issues.

VACCINES

A GRAPHIC HISTORY

From the Medical Breakthroughs series

Historical background for readers hazy on the whys and wherefores of vaccines.

Polinsky traces the development of vaccines from 16th-century reports of inoculation against the “speckled monster” of smallpox in what is described as merely “Asia” to the release in 2020 of vaccines for Covid-19. The narrative is dense, injected with names, dates, and scientific terms. Unfortunately, it’s already somewhat dated and turns notably skimpy when it comes to describing how the Covid-19 vaccines were developed. More disturbingly, although the author comes down hard on the author of a since-discredited 1998 claim that certain vaccines cause autism, she notes without justification or comment that Lady Montagu and even Jonas Salk tried out vaccines on their own children and that researchers mass-cultured the polio virus in “tissue from human embryos.” Figures, White or light-skinned, stand in static poses uttering wooden declamations (“Daniel Oliver, my boy, you have just received the first vaccine in American history!”). Ginevra cuts a few corners, pairing the writer’s blithe assurances about how safe the treatments are to multiple views of children being stuck, scratched, or bandaged. In one disquieting scene, we see polio victims in iron lungs as bodiless heads. Readers concerned about viral diseases and their treatment (who isn’t these days?) will come away somewhat better informed—but hardly soothed. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Clotted with facts, it barely scratches the surface when it comes to immunological details or ethical issues. (glossary, multimedia resource list, index) (Informational picture book. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2022

ISBN: 1-7284-4872-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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