SMASH! by Sara Latta


Exploring the Mysteries of the Universe with the Large Hadron Collider
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 10 - 14
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Two young visitors take simultaneous tours of the world of subatomic particles and of the largest scientific instrument ever built.

As in her picture book Stella Brite and the Dark Matter Mystery (illustrated by Meredith Johnson, 2006), Latta brushes a thin gloss of storyline over a series of lucid lectures delivered largely in dialogue. Following an introduction to quarks and other components of the Standard Model of particle physics that’s capped by a quick trip back to the Big Bang, science-minded Sophie leads her more artistically inclined cousin Nick to a meeting with two grad-student tour guides at CERN. From there it’s on to view parts of the Large Hadron Collider, from a locomotive-sized linear accelerator to the 27-kilometer tunnel in which protons zip to incredible collisions that have, most recently, led to glimpses of the elusive Higgs boson. In panels that are large enough to accommodate hefty dialogue balloons without looking overcrowded, Weigel mixes realistically drawn people—including Einstein, Peter Higgs, and other renowned scientists—with intricately detailed devices and playful but illuminating visualizations of events at both subatomic and universewide levels. In the black-and-white illustrations everyone has light skin, but Sophie is biracial, and some figures may have Asian features. Summary looks at particle physics’ pioneers and certain still-unsolved mysteries are appended.

Big tech at its biggest; weird science at its weirdest: readers will echo Sophie’s “It’s amazeballs!” (glossary, resource lists) (Graphic fiction/nonfiction hybrid. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-4677-8551-8
Page count: 72pp
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2017


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