A top-shelf rendition of one of the greatest survival stories to come out of the Age of Exploration.

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SHACKLETON

ANTARCTIC ODYSSEY

With just a hint of artistic license, a retelling in graphic form of the ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-17.

Keeping readers oriented with maps and dates that heighten the drama (if it were possible), Bertozzi introduces Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic career with glimpses of early ventures in 1901 and 1907. He then provides a captioned portrait gallery of each member of the expedition, including the dogs, before going on to retrace in detail the course and fate of the ship Endurance, which was trapped in ice and eventually crushed. The exhausting, monthslong trek over rough ice and treacherous waters to reach a rescue point takes up most of the book. The author places figures drawn with a fine pen within small but easily legible panels, and he uses a color scheme of black, white and a midtone gray that effectively captures the Antarctic’s alien, implacable harshness. His tale is infused, though, with both humor (“My posterior is chafed thoroughly from cleaning with ice,” complains an expedition member, pulling up his trousers) and a strong sense of the stiff-upper-lip camaraderie that, along with Shackleton’s outstanding leadership, kept the expedition together and led, against all odds, to the survival of its every (human) member.

A top-shelf rendition of one of the greatest survival stories to come out of the Age of Exploration. (source list) (Graphic historical fiction. 10-16)

Pub Date: June 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59643-451-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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

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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Maria wakes at the end in a singed easy chair and resolves to quit cold turkey. The target audience, having certainly been...

BABY DON'T SMOKE

In a graphic novelette that wears its agenda on both sleeves and on every other garment, a young Latina mother moves through clouds of dialogue balloons filled with anti-smoking arguments.

Blowing off pleas to stop lighting up by her baby’s father, her widowed mother and the television, Maria falls asleep with a cigarette in her hand. She wakes to a dream world in which she has burned down her house, meets her repentant father in the hospital (“If I’d only realized that the only gift I was leaving you was asthma and a dirty habit…”) and is whisked off with a pregnant fellow patient to a confrontation with the witchy, bitchy—and, in Brown’s garishly colored, crudely drawn cartoons, hideously thin—head of the “Tarburro” corporation. She gloats: “Lovely, young parent smokers! Your children are my children!” For readers who aren’t already browbeaten into insensibility by the barrage of information, Jaime caps the episode with seven pages of statistics (mislabeled “Factoids”), websites and quiz questions.

Maria wakes at the end in a singed easy chair and resolves to quit cold turkey. The target audience, having certainly been exposed to similar anti-smoking screeds already, is unlikely to follow suit. (Graphic novel. 12-16)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-935826-20-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Kalindi Press

Review Posted Online: April 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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