Clotted with facts, it barely scratches the surface when it comes to immunological details or ethical issues.

VACCINES

A GRAPHIC HISTORY

From the Medical Breakthroughs series

Historical background for readers hazy on the whys and wherefores of vaccines.

Polinsky traces the development of vaccines from 16th-century reports of inoculation against the “speckled monster” of smallpox in what is described as merely “Asia” to the release in 2020 of vaccines for Covid-19. The narrative is dense, injected with names, dates, and scientific terms. Unfortunately, it’s already somewhat dated and turns notably skimpy when it comes to describing how the Covid-19 vaccines were developed. More disturbingly, although the author comes down hard on the author of a since-discredited 1998 claim that certain vaccines cause autism, she notes without justification or comment that Lady Montagu and even Jonas Salk tried out vaccines on their own children and that researchers mass-cultured the polio virus in “tissue from human embryos.” Figures, White or light-skinned, stand in static poses uttering wooden declamations (“Daniel Oliver, my boy, you have just received the first vaccine in American history!”). Ginevra cuts a few corners, pairing the writer’s blithe assurances about how safe the treatments are to multiple views of children being stuck, scratched, or bandaged. In one disquieting scene, we see polio victims in iron lungs as bodiless heads. Readers concerned about viral diseases and their treatment (who isn’t these days?) will come away somewhat better informed—but hardly soothed. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Clotted with facts, it barely scratches the surface when it comes to immunological details or ethical issues. (glossary, multimedia resource list, index) (Informational picture book. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2022

ISBN: 1-7284-4872-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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African-American Geo cuts a suitably chiseled figure in the pictures, but he doesn’t get enough to do and so is really no...

THE INCREDIBLE PLATE TECTONICS COMIC

From the Adventures of Geo series , Vol. 1

Superhero Geo introduces readers to plate tectonics.

Reviewing information on his way to school for a big geology test, young George transforms himself into “Geo,” a uniformed superhero with a rocket-propelled skateboard and a robotic canine sidekick. In his imaginary adventure, he leaps over sidewalk “faults,” swerves away from “tsunamis” splashed up by a passing truck and saves an elderly lady from falling into an open manhole “volcano.” Meanwhile, supported by visual aids provided by inserted graphics and maps, Geo goes over the convergent, divergent and transform movements of tectonic plates, subduction, magnetic “stripes” paralleling oceanic ridges and a host of other need-to-know facts and terms. All of this is illustrated in big, brightly colored sequential panels of cartoon art hung about with heavy blocks of explication. After the exam comes back with, natch, a perfect score (“I guess all that studying paid off”), Lee, a geophysicist, abandons the story for a final 10 pages of recap and further detail on plate tectonics’ causes, effects and measurement—closing with a description of what geologists do.

African-American Geo cuts a suitably chiseled figure in the pictures, but he doesn’t get enough to do and so is really no more than a mouthpiece—perhaps there will be more of a plot in his next adventure. (online projects, index) (Graphic nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59327-549-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: No Starch Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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A well-organized overview boosted by some unusual feats and sidelights.

50 SPACE MISSIONS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

From the Beginner's Guide to Space series

A quick highlight reel of ventures into the high frontier, from the V-2’s first flight in 1942 on.

Read defines mission broadly, so that his tally includes both single achievements, like Sputnik and Apollo 11, and clusters—three Mars rovers for mission No. 22, for instance, and for No. 48, an entire “climate change fleet” of orbiting geophysical satellites. The general drift is chronological, but after introductory looks at how rockets and gravity work, entries are grouped in topical chapters. These begin with “manned” spaceflight up to Valentina Tereshkova’s 1963 orbit, move through looks at ongoing projects such as SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy booster, and conclude with glimpses of near-future missions to the moon and Mars. Not every flight here “changed the world” in any substantial way, but along with the usual suspects there are some that may be new even to well-read students of space exploration…such as the U.S.’s first spy satellite, Corona, launched in 1960, and 1982’s international Cospas-Sarsat satellite-based search-and-rescue system. Also, the (then) Soviet Union’s little-known moon rover Lunokhod 1 (1970) gets a nod, as does Cuban cosmonaut Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, who actually preceded U.S. astronaut Guion Bluford to become the first person of African descent into space. Small photos and graphic images shoehorned in around the narrative blocks give some pages an overcrowded look, and human figures, though rare, are nearly all White and male.

A well-organized overview boosted by some unusual feats and sidelights. (glossary, websites) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4595-0626-8

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Formac

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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