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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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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It’s a lot to take in at one sitting, but this anatomical extravaganza really gets to the heart of the matter. Not to...

HUMAN BODY THEATER

A theatrical introduction to human anatomy, as well-choreographed as it is informative.

In 11 “Acts” hosted con brio by a skeletal impresario (“Bring out the lungs!”), Wicks parades a revue of body systems across a curtained stage. It’s a full program, with a teeming supporting cast from Dopamine to Diaphragm, Golgi Body to Gastroenteritis joining more-familiar headliners. The presentation opens with a zoom down to the cellular and even molecular levels to lay foundations for later macro and micro views of digestion, infection, and disease. Following this, the five senses (only five), the “dance of the oxygen fairies,” allergic reactions, and other anatomical processes that make up each system’s major components, most sporting cheery emoji-style faces, expressively demonstrate their respective functions. The reproductive system’s named parts deliver a frank but visually discreet turn with descriptions of erections and fertilization but no direct depictions, and it stops with the onset of puberty. The performances are enhanced by labeled diagrams, pitches on relevant topics from the importance of immunization and proper nutrition to synonyms for “fart,” and lists of important words and further resources. A few miscues aside (no, the speed of sound is not invariant), it’s a grand show, with a logically placed intermission following a peek into the bladder and a literal “wrap” at the end as the emcee puts herself together from inside out.

It’s a lot to take in at one sitting, but this anatomical extravaganza really gets to the heart of the matter. Not to mention the guts, nerves, veins, bones…. (glossary, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62672-277-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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