First Second’s got a line of Science Comics coming to stores beginning in May with the releases of Coral Reefs and Dinosaurs. The books are beautifully illustrated and bring nonfiction to the next level with information, wit, and fun for readers.
Coral Reefs, by Maris Wicks ($9.99, ISBN: 9781626721456) introduces readers to the world of coral reefs! With an adorable fish acting as emcee and guide, readers get a look at the biology of coral, the different types of reefs, sea creatures that live in and around the reefs, and the ecological importance that the reefs play in our world. Maris Wicks, who also gave us the brilliant and informative Human Body Theater last year, is back with her combination of smart and funny writing and eye-catching, bright art.
The science is solid and there are tons of take-away facts for kids and adults alike. Did you know that some reefs take millions of years to grow? That coral reefs are home to a quarter of all the animals found in the ocean? Wicks also discusses climate change and its impact on the environment, with emphasis ramifications like coral bleaching and ocean acidification. Anyone can help in any way; Wicks provides examples that include reducing carbon emissions (take a walk! carpool! bike ride!); reusing and recycling plastics; composting, and planting trees and flowers. There’s a great message about environmentalism and conservation to be told here, and Wicks ends on an upbeat note: “Caring for ourselves and our environment is the first step to caring for the rest of the world.” With a foreword from Randi Rotjan, Ph.D., Associate Research Scientist with the New England Aquarium, a glossary, bibliography, and additional resources, Science Comics: Coral Reefs is a great companion to any unit on the oceans, sea life, conservation, and ecology. Strongly recommended for public, school and home collections.
Check out Maris Wicks’ website for fiction and nonfiction artwork!
Science Comics: Dinosaurs, by award-winning author MK Reed and illustrated by Joe Flood ($9.99, ISBN: 9781626721432) takes an omniscient narrator approach, walking readers through the history of paleontology, including the many rivalries between scientists that led, in some cases, to some major classification errors, like the poor Brontosaurus, a victim of the infamous Bone Wars between paleontologists O.C. Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope, whose bitter rivalry and rush to beat one another to publishing led them to create a dinosaur that didn’t really exist – it was later discovered that an Apatosaurus body had a Camarasaurus head stuck onto the skeleton, in a rush to complete the work.
With a series of repeated timelines that show facts that society “definitely knew” at different times, we see how much we’ve really learned about the true age of the earth, the fossil record, and the origins of dinosaurs themselves. Joe Flood’s art is less cartoony than Maris Wicks, but captures the tremendous scale and brightly colored dinosaurs that we now understand roamed the earth. There are some incredible graphs and charts in here, illustrating common ancestors and evolutions. A foreword by Leonard Finkelman, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Philosophy of Science at Linfield College, plus a glossary, additional charts, and further resources make this a must-have for any dinosaur collection. Buy two – you know kids love their dinosaurs.
So much more than simple graphic novels, Science Comics is a series that deserves a place in any nonfiction section AND any graphic novel section. The next book in the series, Volcanoes, is due out in October. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
MK Reed’s author webpage has more information about the author and her books, including a link to her anthology on women gamers, Chainmail Bikini.
Sneak peek at Coral Reefs:
Sneak peek at Dinosaurs: