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

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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A likable journey that is sensitive to the triumphs and agonies of being a 13-year-old girl.

FRIENDS FOREVER

From the Friends series , Vol. 3

Shannon just wants to get through eighth grade in one piece—while feeling like her own worst enemy.

In this third entry in popular author for young people Hale’s graphic memoir series, the young, sensitive overachiever is crushed by expectations: to be cool but loyal to her tightknit and dramatic friend group, a top student but not a nerd, attractive to boys but true to her ideals. As events in Shannon’s life begin to overwhelm her, she works toward finding a way to love and understand herself, follow her passions for theater and writing, and ignore her cruel inner voice. Capturing the visceral embarrassments of middle school in 1987 Salt Lake City, Shannon’s emotions are vivid and often excruciating. In particular, the social norms of a church-oriented family are clearly addressed, and religion is shown as being both a comfort and a struggle for Shannon. While the text is sometimes in danger of spelling things out a little too neatly and obviously, the emotional honesty and sincerity drawn from Hale’s own life win out. Pham’s artwork is vibrant and appealing, with stylistic changes for Shannon’s imaginings and the leeching out of color and use of creative panel structures as her anxiety and depression worsen.

A likable journey that is sensitive to the triumphs and agonies of being a 13-year-old girl. (author's note, gallery) (Graphic memoir. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-31755-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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A SHOT IN THE ARM!

From the Big Ideas That Changed the World series , Vol. 3

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) narrates this entry in the Big Ideas That Changed the World series, presenting the story of the development of vaccines.

Lady Mary, an intelligent, lovely White Englishwoman, was infected with smallpox in 1715. The disease left her scarred and possibly contributed to the failure of her marriage, but not before she moved with her husband to the Ottoman Empire and learned there of what came to be called variolation. Inoculating people with an attenuated (hopefully) version of smallpox to cause a mild but immunity-producing spell of the disease was practiced by the Ottomans but remained rare in England until Lady Mary, using her own children, popularized the practice during an epidemic. This graphic novel is illustrated with engaging panels of artwork that broaden its appeal, effectively conveying aspects of the story that extend the enthralling narrative. Taking care to credit innovations in immunology outside of European borders, Brown moves through centuries of thoughtful scientific inquiry and experimentation to thoroughly explain the history of vaccines and their limitless value to the world but also delves into the discouraging story of the anti-vaccination movement. Concluding with information about the Covid-19 pandemic, the narrative easily makes the case that a vaccine for this disease fits quite naturally into eons of scientific progress. Thoroughly researched and fascinating, this effort concludes with outstanding backmatter for a rich, accurate examination of the critical role of vaccines.

Essential. (timeline, biographical notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5001-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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