Leo Geo and His Miraculous Journey Through the Center of the Earth HC
Publisher: Roaring Brook
Release Date: March 2012
Price: $15.99
Creator: Jon Chad
Format: 40 pgs.; B&W; Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-59643-661-9
Age Rating: 7-10/Grades 2-5
ICv2 Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

Leo is determined to go on a trip through the center of the Earth, no matter how dangerous.  After all, he's doing it for science and science is important.  But is Leo prepared for the strange and wondrous things he'll see along the way?

Chad's graphic novel is a fun mix of science fiction and science fact, straddling the story line somewhere between Jules Verne's wild imaginings and Capstone's Max Axiom series of non-fiction graphic novels about science principles.  What ties the whole thing together is Chad's highly detailed art.  He uses simple black and white lines only, avoiding shadows that would only weigh down the pages.  To follow the story, readers have to hold the long, skinny pages vertically.  Midway through the adventures, as Leo goes through the middle of the Earth and switches from journeying down to journeying up, the book has to be flipped and read in the opposite direction.  This interactive element is effective and allows Chad to leave off traditional panel borders in favor of lengthy images that continue down each page, keeping the story flowing along nicely.  The science elements, particularly the high-brow math, will be above the heads of younger readers, but the "science and math are fun!" mantra never gets old and will capture the attention of young readers in both elementary and middle school who are eager to explore the world for themselves.

--Snow Wildsmith: Writer and former teen librarian and ALA/YALSA committee member.