Restores hope in the idea that all things are possible; especially empowering for young women interested in STEM subjects.

An extinct seed was reborn after two millennia thanks to the work of two 21st-century Israeli scientists.

Our tale begins in ancient Israel, when Romans vanquished embattled Jews atop their last stronghold—the mountaintop fortress of Masada. Among the items abandoned there were Judean date-palm seeds; these trees were considered a “treasure in Israel and throughout the ancient world,” and their fruit was believed to have medicinal purposes. The seeds remained hidden by time and sand until archaeologists unearthed six in 1963. In 2004, Jerusalem physician Dr. Sarah Sallon decided to study their potential health benefits. No one had ever resuscitated an extinct plant, but she wanted to try and contacted Dr. Elaine Solowey, PhD, a prominent Israeli plant expert, to ask if it were possible. It was. She planted a seed that miraculously sprouted; six years later, Dr. Solowey replanted her thriving success in the desert. Over the next several years, Dr. Sallon located additional ancient seeds; Dr. Solowey sprouted them, too, and pollinated one from her first plant. Amazingly, in 2020, she picked dates from the first tree she’d so carefully developed years before. Students interested in science will be fascinated by this unique blend of ancient history and modern science, skillfully combined in an easy-to-understand, easily navigable graphic novel. The writing is smooth, with a conversational tone; pronunciation guides and diagrams are included. The unfussy, fine-lined digital illustrations are atmospheric, beautifully capturing time and place.

Restores hope in the idea that all things are possible; especially empowering for young women interested in STEM subjects. (author’s note, timeline, map of Israel, photos) (Graphic nonfiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: March 28, 2023

ISBN: 9780802855909

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023



Readers will want to dig deeper into this true story of canine heroes and lifesaving science.

This graphic novel tells the story of an idea that saved countless children’s lives—but it required sacrifices from some of man’s best friends.

In 1920, juvenile diabetes was a death sentence. A young Canadian surgeon, Dr. Frederick Banting, worked with children dying of the disease and had a hunch that pancreatic secretions could be used to make a lifesaving treatment. However, in order to test his hypothesis, Dr. Banting would need to experiment on dogs, and most of them would die as a result. Banting’s hunch would eventually turn into the development of insulin, a lifesaving treatment for diabetics and a world-changing medical advancement, but at what cost? Poon’s delicate, empathetic illustrations help readers see that Dr. Banting is an animal lover who struggles with attachment to his stray-dog subjects and is heartbroken when they die as a result of their time in the lab. One in particular, Marjorie, captures his heart. Marjorie becomes the most long-lived test subject, proving that insulin treatments were ready for testing on a human patient, and dies a hero in Banting’s arms. Ethical issues are addressed in a concluding note in which readers are encouraged to think critically about the use of animals in lifesaving research; an author’s note and list of sources attest to Kerbel’s own research. Dr. Banting and his colleagues present White.

Readers will want to dig deeper into this true story of canine heroes and lifesaving science. (Graphic nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77147-411-5

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021



A dry account that nevertheless imparts significant historical lessons.

A Jewish girl survives the Nazi occupation of Denmark.

In 1940, when Mette is 5, the Germans invade Denmark. Raised in a secular, assimilated family, Mette doesn’t even know she’s Jewish. When she’s 8 and her father shares the dangerous secret with her, she understands so little of what it means to be Jewish that she responds, “But I thought I was Danish.” Meanwhile, in 2009, an older Mette brings her American grandchildren to visit Copenhagen. As she tells them her story, she can offer more than she understood as a small child: Factual recitations (King Christian X’s family tree, the messy Treaty of Versailles, the planned mass deportation of Denmark’s Jews, and the complex pragmatism of Danish surrender) mix with tales of stubbornly patriotic anti-Nazi resistance. Older Mette’s narrative follows both her memories of the mass rescue of Danish Jews in October 1943 and the story of real-life resistance fighter Svend Otto Nielsen. Shayne concludes by drawing comparisons between past and present and reminding readers of the importance of learning from history. Though at times the artwork is emotionally moving, for the most part the illustrations are cluttered and static, and the book relies more on telling than showing. As a result, the work feels surprisingly dull and even confusing—as the narrative jumps back and forth in time, it’s often unclear who is being depicted and when.

A dry account that nevertheless imparts significant historical lessons. (Graphic historical fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781499813586

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Yellow Jacket

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

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