An anything-but-boring introduction to the beautiful mysteries of the universe.

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SOLAR SYSTEM

OUR PLACE IN SPACE

From the Science Comics series

Two friends on Earth explore the solar system through an out-of-this-world tale about their space-traveling pets.

Sarah, sick in bed, is thrilled when her friend Jill comes to visit, since after organizing her socks and reading all of her books, she’s gotten pretty bored. To entertain her friend, Jill uses a nonfiction book about the solar system as framework for an adventure story starring their pets. Capt. Riley the dog, Cmdr. Pepper the cat, engineer Fortinbras the hamster, and science officer Slithers the snake are led by an AI named Precise Astronomical Locator (P.A.L. for short) who is obsessed with the game chess. They visit all eight planets, including Earth, and send reports back to Sarah in order to spark her interest and enthusiasm, which translates into the fuel they need to feed their spaceship—EnthusiPlasma! Through a bubbly plot and charming graphic-novel illustrations, author Mosco and illustrator Chad (with colorist Healy) create a world in which learning really is fun and even the faraway Pluto comes within reach. Concepts such as gravity and fusion are clearly explained with help from accompanying diagrams. Dialogue among both humans and animals feels natural, and the illustrations are colorful and vibrant; that Sarah and Jill are both kids of color is another plus. Backmatter includes a glossary and a guide to watching meteor showers.

An anything-but-boring introduction to the beautiful mysteries of the universe. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-141-8

Page Count: 130

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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Exhilarating—as well as hilarious, enraging, or both at once depending on the reader.

ASTRONAUTS

WOMEN ON THE FINAL FRONTIER

[How women got mad, busy, and finally, reluctantly, accepted into NASA’s corps of astronauts.

Recast by the creators of Primates (2013) from NASA oral-history interviews with ex-astronaut Mary Cleave and other eyewitnesses, this likewise lightly fictionalized memoir takes its narrator from childhood interests in science and piloting aircraft to two space shuttle missions and then on to later educational and administrative roles. The core of the tale is a frank and funny account of how women shouldered their way into NASA’s masculine culture and as astronaut trainees broke it down by demonstrating that they too had both the competencies and the toughness that added up to the right stuff. Highlighted by a vivid series of scenes showing Cleave with a monkey on her chest, then a chimpanzee, an orangutan, a gorilla, and finally a larger gorilla to symbolize the G-forces of liftoff, Wicks offers cleanly drawn depictions of technical gear, actual training exercises, eye-rolling encounters with sexist reporters and clueless NASA engineers, iconic figures (such as a group portrait of the watershed astronaut class of 1978: “Twenty-six white guys and nine…well…people who were not. Pretty diverse for NASA”), and astronauts at work on the ground and in space. They capture both the heady thrill of space travel and the achievements of those who led the way there.

Exhilarating—as well as hilarious, enraging, or both at once depending on the reader. (afterword, print and web resources) (Informational graphic novel. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62672-877-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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A change of pace from the typical blood-and-guts approach to the topic, populous enough to sate even the most rabid...

DINOSAUR EMPIRE!

JOURNEY THROUGH THE MESOZOIC ERA

From the Earth Before Us series , Vol. 1

A quick trip through the Mesozoic Era with a paleontologist is all young Ronnie needs to become a dino-maniac.

So desperate is Ronnie to better a dinosaur exam’s failing grade that she’s willing to follow her odd but scholarly neighbor Miss Lernin into a curbside recycling bin—which, thanks to “Science Magic,” leaves the two in the late Triassic. Between meeting plateosaurs on that stop and a cozy nuzzle with a T. rex in the late Cretaceous, Ronnie gets an earful about dinosaur anatomy, convergent evolution, types of prehistoric life, protofeathers and other recent discoveries, and (as Miss Lernin puts it) “the exciting world of…phylogenetic trees!!” But mostly what she gets are dinosaurs. The graphic panels teem with (labeled) prehistoric life including, along with dozens of dinos, many early mammals and other contemporaries. Howard depicts nearly all of this fauna with snub noses and such friendly expressions that in no time (so to speak) Ronnie is exclaiming “Oh my gosh…Jurassic crocodylomorphs were so cute!” Indeed, her white tutor agrees, but also cool, dangerous, and majestic. Ronnie, who is depicted as a black girl, returns to the present to earn a perfect score on a retaken test and go on to spread the dino-word to her diverse classmates. Though the lack of source or resource lists is disappointing, closing graphic recaps of major prehistoric creatures and, yes, a phylogenetic tree provide some review.

A change of pace from the typical blood-and-guts approach to the topic, populous enough to sate even the most rabid dinophiles. (glossary) (Graphic informational fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2306-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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