Survival of the Fittest

Holt. (Survival of the Fittest: Bk. 1). Apr. 2024. 112p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250805317.
Gr 1-3–This STEM graphic novel combines engineering design with the high-pressure setting of a game show judged by a shark tank—literally. A hammerhead shark, a lanternshark, and a tiger shark listen to the contestants as they pitch their products. Each invention is based on the real-world abilities of the animal presenting the item. For example, the chameleon has created a gripper that grasps things as gently as her own tongue can, and the humpback whale has designed more efficient wind turbines based on the shape of her own fins. Readers will enjoy the humor throughout, such as the lanternshark asking if the gecko’s robot design can fight aliens, or the hermit crab host changing to a different shell covering (bowl, teacup, soup can) for each segment of the show. Offstage scenes show more of the work that goes into creating a television show, including camera operators, control room personnel, even the green room where contestants wait. Back matter includes details about real-world products and ideas that are the inspiration for each of those shown in the story, along with a URL for further details about each one.
VERDICT This enjoyable blend of graphic novel, humor, game shows, and inventions is a great choice to introduce a STEM unit on engineering or animal adaptations.

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