A flawed history.

Veteran graphic novelist Hoskin (The Taj Mahal, 2019, etc.) turns to the history of astronomy and the fight for heliocentrism.

Humans have been stargazers for as long as we know, and contributions to the science of astronomy have come from cultures all over the world. Here, Hoskin and illustrator Kumar (Hamlet, 2019, etc.) use the graphic-novel format to present a pivotal point in the history of science. Through the 1500s and 1600s, amid the Reformation and dawning of Enlightenment in Europe, astronomers Copernicus, Bruno, and Galileo used advances in data and mathematics to make a case against the long-held view that the Earth is the center of the universe, around which all else rotates. While stories of the three astronomers whose work at times ran afoul of the Catholic Church are presented, the work of other relevant and notable scientists is completely left out, including the early heliocentrist Aristarchus, while others, like Kepler, receive only a passing mention. It is clear the author is presenting a case of science versus the church more than a full history of how a sun-centered universe (and later solar system) came to be accepted. This along with other errant or confusing statements makes for uneven reading. Backmatter presents information about how the planets got their names as well as the history of the Indian space program and notable Indian scientists.

A flawed history. (planetary information, timelines, biographies) (Graphic nonfiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-93-81182-96-3

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020


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



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

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