The Invisible War: A World War I Tale on Two Scales

BARR, Briony, Gregory Crocetti, Ailsa Wild, & . illus. by Ben Hutchings. 80p. Lerner. Jan. 2019. Tr $29.32. ISBN 9781541541559; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781541545281.
Gr 7 Up—Science and history blend in this tale of two intertwined battles. The first is the story of World War I nurses from Australia fighting to save soldiers injured in the 1916 Battle of Pozières in France. The second takes place on a microscopic level and involves the gut microbes of Nurse Annie Barnaby. Exposed to dysentery from an ill soldier, Barnaby's body works to fight the deadly Shigella flexneri bacteria. Black-and-white illustrations move seamlessly between the microscopic world and the battlefront hospital, accompanied by expository text when necessary. Particularly helpful is the final section, which answers questions such as, "Where Was the Western Front?" and "Why Are There So Many Bacteria in the Gut?" The interdisciplinary approach of this historical graphic novel is unique and instructive.
VERDICT A complementary text to science and history curricula.

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