Period pop horror that will lure readers in for important history lessons.

LIZARD IN A ZOOT SUIT

With a dash of mid-20th–century pulp monsters and a backdrop of 1940s Los Angeles, Finnegan mingles humanoid swamp creatures with victory rolls and zoot suits to highlight Mexican American families struggling to hold their own.

Cuata is soft, petite, and keen to help others. Her sister, Flaca, on the other hand, is, as her name suggests, tall, lean, and angular with a short temper and a rebellious edge. Though their characters represent, respectively, traditionally feminine norms and those who push against them, all their traits are needed to save a new friend in need. When a night out in downtown LA turns violent amid the clashes of the Zoot Suit Riots, Cuata and Flaca escape with the help of a subterranean creature who is part man and part lizard with echoes of the “Creature From the Black Lagoon.” The creature follows them home, where Cuata discovers that he has been separated from his family, and the girls must work together to reunite them while evading Navy men and a mysterious man-in-black scientist who want to get to the creature first. Though the adventure is fast-paced and fun, themes of racism, colonialism, counterculture, and family are all explored. Backmatter includes historical context about the zoot suiters and the events that triggered the 1943 riots as well as insight into Finnegan’s creative process.

Period pop horror that will lure readers in for important history lessons. (Graphic science fiction/historical fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-8695-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A warm, sweet, lovely tale of a world readers will want to live in.

ALWAYS HUMAN

In a not-so-distant future where changing one’s physical features is as easy as purchasing nanobot mods, Sunati falls for Austen, a girl who always looks the same.

Since Austen never changes, Sunati admires what she assumes is her bravery and confidence. As Sunati and Austen chat more, Austen bluntly asks Sunati if she only wants to get to know her more because of her medical condition, which prevents her from using mods. As they gradually grow closer, Sunati learns how to interact more respectfully with those who have overactive immune systems as well as to share her feelings more honestly. Austen, in turn, learns to trust Sunati. This beautifully illustrated slice-of-life tale that shows two young women of color getting to know each other and creating a relationship is so warm and charming that readers will hardly notice how much they are learning about how to better interact with folx who are different from themselves and the importance of not making assumptions. The story also successfully weaves in agender, genderfluid, and asexual characters as well as the subjects of parenting and colorism into the natural arc of Sunati and Austen’s developing story. The soft, romantic artwork evokes hazy watercolors. The speech bubbles are predominantly pink and blue, and the varied layout will maintain readers’ interest.

A warm, sweet, lovely tale of a world readers will want to live in. (Graphic romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1110-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced...

MACBETH

From the Wordplay Shakespeare series

A pairing of the text of the Scottish Play with a filmed performance, designed with the Shakespeare novice in mind.

The left side of the screen of this enhanced e-book contains a full version of Macbeth, while the right side includes a performance of the dialogue shown (approximately 20 lines’ worth per page). This granular focus allows newcomers to experience the nuances of the play, which is rich in irony, hidden intentions and sudden shifts in emotional temperature. The set and costuming are deliberately simple: The background is white, and Macbeth’s “armor” is a leather jacket. But nobody’s dumbing down their performances. Francesca Faridany is particularly good as a tightly coiled Lady Macbeth; Raphael Nash-Thompson gives his roles as the drunken porter and a witch a garrulousness that carries an entertainingly sinister edge. The presentation is not without its hiccups. Matching the video on the right with the text on the left means routinely cutting off dramatic moments; at one point, users have to swipe to see and read the second half of a scene’s closing couplet—presumably an easy fix. A “tap to translate” button on each page puts the text into plain English, but the pop-up text covers up Shakespeare’s original, denying any attempts at comparison; moreover, the translation mainly redefines more obscure words, suggesting that smaller pop-ups for individual terms might be more meaningful.

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced e-book makes the play appealing and graspable to students . (Enhanced e-book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: The New Book Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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