A friendly and engaging orientation for emerging comics creators, although the activity pages make this one for home...

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HOW TO MAKE AWESOME COMICS

A cheerful guide offering a beginner’s course in designing comics.

Wearing a crisp lab coat with a pen in the pocket and horn-rimmed spectacles, Professor Panels, an anthropomorphized speech bubble, and simian assistant Art Monkey delve into the nuances of making comics. Broken down into 21 “awesome” lessons, they cover such topics as drawing instruction, gathering ideas, structuring a story, character development, and constructing a comic book. Contained within each lesson are activities to be completed within the book, alongside others that can be done beyond its pages. Appendices offer readers a few extra drawing how-tos. Professor Panels is the straight shooter who presents the basic ideas and is delightfully offset by Art Monkey, who keeps the tone light with an occasional fart joke. With each lively lesson spanning only a page or two and splashed with a vibrant palette of colors, the instructions are simple and inviting. Seasoned comics veterans might fare better elsewhere; covering the most rudimentary of steps from having a writing utensil to how to fold paper to create a pamphlet, this lighthearted manual is best suited for a younger audience or those who are totally new to comics and looking for a jumping-in point.

A friendly and engaging orientation for emerging comics creators, although the activity pages make this one for home collections rather than library use. (appendices) (Graphic nonfiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-13273-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: David Fickling/Phoenix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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Though this has more of a religious bent than most biographies, children should gain an understanding of the new pope as a...

JORGE FROM ARGENTINA

THE STORY OF POPE FRANCIS FOR CHILDREN

Beginning with the emigration of Jorge’s grandparents from Italy to Argentina, this biography traces Bergoglio’s life, concluding with his attendance at World Youth Day in July 2013, as Pope Francis.

This is a much more personal biography (meant for a slightly younger audience) than Pope Francis by Stephanie Watson (2013). Only briefly mentioning Argentina’s “Dirty War” and entirely leaving out the scandals of the Catholic Church and the more publicized examples of Bergoglio’s humility, Monge and Wolfe focus instead on the experiences that shaped Bergoglio’s faith and led him to the priesthood. The text’s lack of a bibliography may lead readers (or their parents) to wonder how the more intimate details of Bergoglio’s life were uncovered, especially with regard to the rather stilted and unnatural-sounding dialogue and internal monologues. Simple, short sentences make this accessible for young readers, though more contextual definitions (or a glossary) would have been helpful, especially for those unfamiliar with the Catholic faith. Also, commas that could help young readers with comprehension are frequently missing, and there are some awkward sentence constructions: “There was always studying or homework to do for school, or help needed around the house.” Kizlauskas’ illustrations are quite realistic looking (if stiff), though they do not always appear on the same spread as the text that accompanies them.

Though this has more of a religious bent than most biographies, children should gain an understanding of the new pope as a person. (Biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8198-4006-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Pauline Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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Scanty for a stand-alone guide but definitely a vocabulary enricher.

MICROBES

A playful introduction to bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, archaea, and protozoa.

Readers are going to need a basic grounding in cytology from the start, as Gallagher drops such terms as “nucleus” and “organelles” into the discourse without defining them and rushes past plasmids without explaining what they are or do. Likewise, though she fits out all of the jelly-bean–like cells and microbes in her lighthearted illustrations with expressive faces—not to mention occasional limbs, fashion accessories, and hair—she rarely includes recognizable biological components. She’s not particularly systematic either, as she mentions four major components of the human immune system but goes on to describe only two. More usefully, along with frequent mentions of how ubiquitous microbes are, her main focus seems to be laying out microbial types and subtypes, from the five shape-related groups of bacteria to the even more ancient archaea (Crenarchaeota, Euryarchaeota, and Korarchaeota), and describing their individual distinctions and how they reproduce. Polysyllabic as some of this content is, the breezy presentation should impart to general students, as well as budding microbiologists, a nodding acquaintance with our single-celled neighbors and residents.

Scanty for a stand-alone guide but definitely a vocabulary enricher. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63411-009-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thunderstone Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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