TAJ MAHAL

AN INCREDIBLE LOVE STORY

From the Campfire Graphic Novels series

A passable introduction to the life of Shah Jahan for lovers of history.

Gives readers a glimpse into the story behind one of the world’s most famous monuments and oldest romances—Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb, the Taj Mahal—and the people who built it.

A flashback to 1592 reveals a soothsayer informing the empress of the Mughal Empire that a child destined for greatness will be born into the royal family. Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram is raised by his grandfather, the Emperor Jalal-ud-in Akbar, and Akbar’s first wife, the Empress Ruqaiya Sultan Begum. At the age of 15, Khurram meets and falls in love with Arjumand Banu Begum. Following the soothsayer’s words, Khurram—who later becomes the fifth Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan—waits 5 years to marry his beloved, who comes to be known as Mumtaz Mahal; however, Arjumand becomes his second wife, as Khurram first marries a Persian princess as part of a political alliance. The detailed, full-color illustrations enhance the story with their expressiveness and rich jewel tones, but the narrative itself lacks depth and perspective. More important, the text either ignores or glosses over historic details: Shah Jahan had three wives (the last of whom does not make an appearance), and the laborers, who spend years constructing the Taj Mahal, look upon Shah Jahan as a benevolent ruler.

A passable introduction to the life of Shah Jahan for lovers of history. (historical and biographical notes) (Graphic history. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-93-81182-59-8

Page Count: 118

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

CYBER ATTACK

A bare-bones introduction for readers without a pre-existing interest.

A quick history of hacking, from the “phone phreaks” of the 1960s to today’s attacks on commercial data stores large and small.

Drawing solely from previously published reports and documents, the authors paint an alarming picture (“The internet has become a cyber criminal playground”) as they trace the growth of increasingly sophisticated digital attacks on personal, corporate and government data systems. Though they rightly point out that many hackers, from early “phreaks” like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak on, have been motivated more by the pleasures of creating software or high-tech gear (or, as they acknowledge in the case of Edward Snowden, idealism) than criminal intent, most of the incidents they describe involve theft or espionage. Noting that attacks can come from anywhere in the world and that malware can be secretly installed not just on computers, but on any number of gadgets, the authors project little hope of keeping our information safe from bad guys. Nor do they offer more than, at best, bare mention of firewalls, encryption, two-step verification, strong passwords and other protective countermeasures. Still, readers will at least come away more aware of the range of hazards, from phishing and ransomware to botnets and distributed denial of service, as well as the huge, rapidly increasing amounts of money and data shadowy entities are raking in.

A bare-bones introduction for readers without a pre-existing interest. (source notes, bibliography, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-2512-5

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

HUMAN BODY THEATER

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

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 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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