Give this a pass: much clearer pictures of what DNA does and the strong personalities who were involved in winkling out its...

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THEY CHANGED THE WORLD

CRICK & WATSON—THE DISCOVERY OF DNA

From the Campfire Heroes series

The story of the discovery of the structure of DNA, in graphic format.

Failing to take advantage of either the format or the historic search’s drama, this rendition presents a portentous account heavy on explication and melodramatic rhetoric and featuring a cast of grimacing or pinched-looking figures spouting wooden dialogue. Watson: “So if we combine our research with Rosalind’s data and…” Crick: “And Linus’s approach of building models. We might be able to figure this out.” Helfand diffuses the focus by paying nearly as much attention to the childhoods and early careers of Linus Pauling, Maurice Wilkins, and Rosalind Franklin as he does to Watson and Crick but downplays the rivalries that drove the race. Also, for all the technical detail he injects (“the phosphates would have to be on the outside”) and further explanations in the back, readers will be left in the dark about the role of genes, how DNA actually works, or even the significance of its double helix structure. A closing note about the contributions of Indian-born Nobelist Har Gobind Khorana adds a note of diversity to the all-white cast.

Give this a pass: much clearer pictures of what DNA does and the strong personalities who were involved in winkling out its secrets are available. (Graphic nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-93-81182-21-5

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Generous swathes of inspiration, albeit over a foundation that seems shifty next to more-authoritative sources such as Ruth...

GIRLS CAN DO ANYTHING

FROM SPORTS TO INNOVATION, ART TO POLITICS, MEET OVER 200 WOMEN WHO GOT THERE FIRST

Heartfelt tributes to over 200 women, from Sappho to Hillary Clinton, who made—or are making—history.

Not everyone here, as the subtitle has it, “Got There First,” but all are notable for contributions to knowledge or culture, for feats of arms or athletics, and for breaking through gender barriers. Doyle arranges entries in chronological order within four broad categories, which results in a stimulating mix of bedfellows: early Somalian queen Arawelo, followed by Boudicca and then Chinese emperor Wu Zetian in “Politics and World-Building,” for example; and Mary Leakey, Hedy Lamarr, and Sylvia Zipser Schur (“Inventor of the Corn-Dog-On-A-Stick”) in “Science and Invention.” Her profiles often include frank references to suicide (Virginia Woolf) or drug addiction (Billie Holiday), but the author also indulges in questionable claims (“Insects are usually classified by the male of the species”). Furthermore, along with turning “feminist icon” into practically a mantra, she’s not beyond the occasional rhetorical tailspin: “Janis Joplin remains a bastion of blues and rock.” More problematically, she cites no sources beyond the articles from commercial magazines and sites stuffed into an indigestible bibliography. The illustrations are an unsystematic scramble of portraits, caricatures, and filler.

Generous swathes of inspiration, albeit over a foundation that seems shifty next to more-authoritative sources such as Ruth Ashby and Deborah Gore Ohrn’s Herstory (1995). (index) (Collective biography. 11-13)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-77085-770-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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