Traits and Heredity

This graphic nonfiction book introduces how genes impact an organism's inherited traits, including variation, hybrids, mutations, and nature versus nurture. This comic book-style book offers readers a visual learning experience with unconventional characters designed to make complex science topics fun and easy to understand. The book pairs humor with real-life examples to help make even the most difficult topics approachable.

ISBN: 978-0-7166-2827-9
Pages: 32
Volumes: 8
Price: $24.95
  • Bright, colorful pages and sequence cues draw in visual learners
  • Directly addresses the reader to allow for interactive reading
  • Provides easy-to-understand explanations of complex concept
  • Accessible comics format can aid striving readers and ELL students
  • Helpful glossary and index in each volume
  • Includes list of additional print and website resources in each volume
  • By pairing straightforward definitions of concepts (“Any action an animal makes . . . or any response to change in its environment is called a behavior”) with clear cartoon illustrations that demonstrate the idea (a horse running through a field, then jumping when it encounters an obstruction), each entry in the Building Blocks of Science series cleverly uses concrete images to help introduce abstract notions. Animal Behavior makes distinctions between learned behaviors, reflexes, and instincts while also covering group behaviors, such as migration and hunting. Animal Life Cycles steers clear of sticky topics like intercourse (and the doodle-like figures help keep blushing at bay) while addressing reproduction, growth, and death. Animal Structure and Classification is one entry for which the comic book-style format is less successful: in a few instances, the connection between the illustration and the concept of classi fication is confusing. From the basics, such as the movement of legs or wings, to complex actions, such as the Venus flytrap’s ability to snap up passing insects to supplement low-nutrient soil, the examples in Plant and Animal Adaptations are broad and varied. Though some illustrations may require extra guidance, by and large this series presents a bevy of useful facts in an appealing, digestible format that’s particularly well suited to visual learners. Available only as a complete set.

    — Sarah Hunter (Booklist).

    World Book follows up its effective, science-related graphic novel series with some new offerings (SLJ dubbed the original books “welcome additions to most collections”). Various narrators (a sperm cell, a flower, a pine cone) address readers directly, condensing fairly complex subjects, such as cell structure and genetic traits, into readable, bite-size dollops of material. The average quality but colorful illustrations are a nice alternative to drier, more text-heavy tomes. Great introductions to biology, and useful for older students struggling to master the basics.

    -School Library Journal, Feb. 2015