Next book



A fun collection that accessibly presents complex concepts to a young audience.

Author-illustrator Gil’s middle-grade anthology of educational comic strips offers humor, compassion, and scientific facts.

This collection contains 10 stories starring four adults who’ve been transformed into younger versions of themselves—along with one, biologist and behavioral scientist Wade Cross, who’s become a talking bear. (It’s all related to an “incident” involving time travel.) Each character is an expert in a particular area, and they all work for the U.S. government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. The stories vary in length, with some spanning multiple pages and others told in just two.Some provide additional backstory about a particular member of the cast, which includes physicist Isaac Juan Lee, who’s autistic; computer scientist Cody Krilienko, who’s transgender; linguist Rosie Stone; and mechanical engineer Quentin Branch. Each story, or chapter, concludes with a brief explanation of the featured scientific topic, from “Ground Freezing” to “Artificial Intelligence.” The comics’ tones vary, which works successfully; some are humorous, while others are more serious, such as one that explores the concept of a bone marrow transplant. The book also includes metafictional jokes that older readers will enjoy, including references to copyright infringement, and even a story that features former President Barack Obama. However, the comic strip panels’ formatting, often six to a page, lacks much variety. The cartoon-style illustrations are fun, though, with saturated colors and organic lines. The characterization is also surprisingly well developed, considering the book’s short length, with some exploring mature relationship dynamics. Specifically, Wade and Rosie must navigate changes in their relationship, which was romantic before the transformation.

A fun collection that accessibly presents complex concepts to a young audience.

Pub Date: July 10, 2023

ISBN: 9781792361630

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Story Ark

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2024

Next book


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2019

Next book


An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel.

Sandy and his family, Japanese Canadians, experience hatred and incarceration during World War II.

Sandy Saito loves baseball, and the Vancouver Asahi ballplayers are his heroes. But when they lose in the 1941 semifinals, Sandy’s dad calls it a bad omen. Sure enough, in December 1941, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor in the U.S. The Canadian government begins to ban Japanese people from certain areas, moving them to “dormitories” and setting a curfew. Sandy wants to spend time with his father, but as a doctor, his dad is busy, often sneaking out past curfew to work. One night Papa is taken to “where he [is] needed most,” and the family is forced into an internment camp. Life at the camp isn’t easy, and even with some of the Asahi players playing ball there, it just isn’t the same. Trying to understand and find joy again, Sandy struggles with his new reality and relationship with his father. Based on the true experiences of Japanese Canadians and the Vancouver Asahi team, this graphic novel is a glimpse of how their lives were affected by WWII. The end is a bit abrupt, but it’s still an inspiring and sweet look at how baseball helped them through hardship. The illustrations are all in a sepia tone, giving it an antique look and conveying the emotions and struggles. None of the illustrations of their experiences are overly graphic, making it a good introduction to this upsetting topic for middle-grade readers.

An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel. (afterword, further resources) (Graphic historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0334-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

Close Quickview