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Science Comics: Volcanoes: Fire and Life Paperback – November 15, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Aurora, her siblings, and their teacher are fuel mappers, charged with the task of finding burnable material to provide heat for their community in a futuristic world where everything is frozen. On one expedition, they happen upon a library, and they scan all of the books onto their devices in order to preserve the information after the volumes have been burned. Aurora discovers a title about volcanoes, and she spends all night reading and learning everything she can about them. Becoming completely obsessed, she shares a constant stream of facts with her skeptical fellow explorers, interrupting their search for fuel. Aurora is certain that volcanoes are the answer to the world's need for warmth, and despite discouraging comments from the others, she ultimately meets with success. Interwoven into the tale are factual pieces of this graphic novel, presented at a frenetic pace that matches the urgency of the characters' need to find a way to survive. The artwork is bold and engaging, cleverly intertwining the science and the more fantastical elements of the narrative. Some portions of the text have the potential to be confusing, as Chad switches between fact and fiction, but this should not deter readers. VERDICT This latest volume in the series offers an engaging way to introduce volcanoes to middle graders who prefer a comic book format to more traditional nonfiction.—Sarah Reid, Four County Library System, NY --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Like having a Time Life Science Library in comic books. Which is awesome!" ―Popular Science, praise for the Science Comics Series
"Chad’s well-drawn and clearly labeled diagrams in rich, saturated colors concisely explain key concepts, and vocabulary words are defined both in the text and a glossary. While the stylized cartoon figures and adventure narrative are an entertaining framework, the science fittingly occupies the center stage." ―Booklist
"The artwork is bold and engaging, cleverly intertwining the science and the more fantastical elements of the narrative."― School Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
Jon Chad’s vision is disturbing and strongly, starkly visualized. I was instantly submerged in this frozen world, sharing Aurora’s concerns and worrying for her and her tribe. That made the information imparted even more potent and poignant. For me, it’s interesting to learn about geology and volcanic activity, but for her, it could be a matter of life and death. Chad does a great job keeping both the story and the education moving along.
As Aurora looks for a way to warm her planet, she discovers volcanoes and the corresponding nature of the earth, including its crust, magma, and plate movement. She tries to educate others, telling them (and the reader) about types of volcanoes and how they form, with plenty of diagrams and comparisons to things we’re already familiar with. Everyone can understand the emotional metaphors used, when people getting mad at each other and blowing up are compared to different types of volcanic eruptions.
Aurora is convinced she’s found a new way to do things, but one of the obstacles she has to overcome is the resignation and anger of her older teacher, who’s given up on a sense of discovery and is coping with the world as it is. That’s a very empathic situation, particularly for older readers. A vocabulary section at the end reinforces the language used throughout the story. (The publisher provided an advance digital review copy. Review originally posted at ComicsWorthReading.com.)