A neatly coherent account with tweaks that allow readers some emotional distance—but not enough to shrug off the war’s...

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TREATIES, TRENCHES, MUD AND BLOOD

A WORLD WAR I TALE

From the Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales series

In the latest of his Hazardous Tales (One Dead Spy, 2012, etc.), Hale recaps World War I with an all-animal cast.

Any similarities to Art Spiegelman’s Maus are doubtless coincidental. Per established series formula, a frame tale finds the author’s more-renowned namesake holding off the hangman, Scheherazade-like, with tales from our country’s future history. In this volume, he covers the war’s prelude, precipitation, major campaigns and final winding down in small but reasonably easy-to-follow two-color panels. At the hangman’s request, narrator Hale both tucks in a few jokes and transforms the opposing armies into animal-headed soldiers—from Gallic roosters and British bulldogs to, as “eagle” was already taken by the Germans, American bunnies. Despite lightening the load in this manner and shying away from explicit brutality, Hale cogently conveys the mind-numbing scale of it all as well as the horrors of trench warfare. He presents with equal ease the strategic and tactical pictures, technological innovations from poison gas to tanks, and related developments such as the Russian Revolution. After the cease fire, which he attributes more to exhaustion than battlefield victory, he closes with a summary of the war’s human toll and geopolitical changes.

A neatly coherent account with tweaks that allow readers some emotional distance—but not enough to shrug off the war’s devastating cost and world-changing effects. (bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0808-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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Uninspired: reads and looks like a rough draft.

ON THE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON

THE STORY OF APOLLO 11'S THIRD MAN

An account of the first moon landing, with special focus on Michael Collins, the astronaut who stayed aloft in the command module.

“The only thing most people know about Michael Collins is that he didn’t get to walk on the moon,” writes Irvine, who then works to fill in details of his subject’s career before, during, and after his multiple stints in space. This effort is particularly lifeless, though, as bland generalities (“Michael Collins worked hard and waited for his chance”) and at best only glancing references to his family, to medical issues, to his spacesuit-design work, to his lively sense of humor—which infuses his autobiography for young readers, Flying to the Moon and other Strange Places (1976)—and to anything that he’s done since 1976 leave him a distant figure. Bishop’s drab, sketchy duotone scenes and schematic diagrams likewise keep Collins and the space program’s dramatic achievements at arm’s length; capsules and rockets are small on the page; human figures who aren’t anonymous beneath faceless helmets are barely recognizable; and the artist offers only perfunctory historical renditions of astronaut gear, control boards, and the like. Along with Flying to the Moon (for those who can find it), Bea Uusma Schyffert’s The Man Who Went to the Far Side of the Moon (2003) offers a more animated, informative picture of Collins, Apollo, and the space program in general.

Uninspired: reads and looks like a rough draft. (timeline, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-88448-452-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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