Big Bangs and Black Holes: A Graphic Novel Guide to the Universe

Helvetiq. May 2023. 64p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9783907293751.
Gr 9 Up–Young astrophysicists, cosmologists, and theoretical physicists will find plenty to think about in this dense but humorous exploration of the universe. Fictional characters Dr. Celeste Aster (pun intended) and her college age niece, Gabrielle, with the help of the real Dr. Michel Mayor, the 2019 Nobel Laureate in Physics, attempt to explain the study of the universe. The creators use the graphic novel format and break the fourth wall to blend up-to-date science with an action-packed story. Gabrielle’s offhand questions and genuine reactions mirror the average person’s knowledge base. Chapter 1 covers some basic history highlighting Galileo, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein. Chapter 2 tackles cosmology, the Big Bang theory, and CMB (cosmic microwave background). Matter is explained with quarks, protons, neutrons, and atoms. Chapter 3 explains black holes, their birth, and their behavior. Dark matter and dark energy are also introduced. Herji adds wry humor to the slapstick interactions of Aster and Mayor with celestial bodies and theorems. The book wraps up by reiterating that unraveling the mystery of the universe is an ongoing science prone to reevaluations and adjustments. An excellent glossary is appended.
VERDICT This is a great addition to high school graphic nonfiction collections. Hand this to students who love the “Science Comics” series.

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