Science Comics: The Brain: The Ultimate Thinking Machine
The Science Comics line is a wonderful marker for quality educational comics, and who better to teach about The Brain than a mad scientist? Science Comics: The Brain: The Ultimate Thinking Machine is written by Tory Woollcott and illustrated by Alex Graudins.
Fahama is helping her crazily determined younger sister sell cookies door-to-door when she stumbles into the lair of Dr. Cerebrum, an ambulatory brain in a jar. To keep him from removing her head, she asks him questions, learning about
- the history of brain science
- the evolution and structure of neurons
- the system of electrical communication involving synapses and action potential
- the makeup of the nervous system
- the parts of the brain itself
- how senses, such as sight and touch, work
The exaggerated humor keeps the situation (which could be quite scary) light-hearted. There’s a lot of information here, but cutting back and forth to the sister’s search for Fahama sections it nicely. Graudins does a terrific job (particularly since this is her first book) drawing both the characters and the cells, giving everything personality.
The educational material can seem overwhelming, with so many specialized terms and structures, but it’s livened up by various pop culture references, such as a Star Trek-like spaceship crew or the bad guy’s zombie butler.
The final section, on language, communication, and memory, including smart study habits, is outstanding, providing a high note to end on with the content most relevant to many readers. The encouraging message about different kinds of intelligence and the exhortation to “Don’t ever underestimate your intelligence or the intelligence of those around you!” is welcome. (The publisher provided a review copy. Review originally posted at Good Comics for Kids.)