Isabel “Izzy” Soto is a historian and an anthropologist. Through a discovery she made, and with the help of super scientist Max Axiom, she is able to travel through time and space to see historical people and study cultures first hand. She goes on adventures, looking at the history of global warming and the Bermuda Triangle, as well as going back in time to see the people of the Mesa Verde Cliffs and Pompeii.
Graphic Expeditions – Isabel Soto
Getting to the Bottom of Global Warming
The Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellers
Rescue in the Bermuda Triangle
Escape from Pompeii
Writers: Marc Tyler Nobleman, Terry Collins; Artists: Joe Staton & Al Milgrom, Cynthia Martin & Barbara Schulz
Captone Press; December 2009; August 2010
ISBNs: 978-1-4296-3972-9; 978-1-4296-3971-2; 978-1-4296-4770-0; 978-1-4296-4771-7
32 pgs; $27.99
The Isabel Soto series is divided into two types; the Investigations and the Archeological Adventures. The Investigations give historical perspectives on current problems. Getting to the Bottom of Global Warming looks back at the historical beginnings of global warming, starting with the question “What happens to the sun’s energy after it passes through the Earth’s atmosphere?” all the way up to the current melting of the ice caps in the Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland. Rescue in the Bermuda Triangle examines the many different theories about disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle, including those science can’t explain. These stories aren’t meant to give the answers, but instead, to give the reader the foundations to think about the problem and come up with their own solution.
The Archeological Adventures explore ancient cultures, focusing on either a particular aspect of the culture or the way people lived as a whole. In The Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellers, Isabel goes back in time to see how the Cliff Dwellers made their pottery and to investigate why a mug found at the site in the present was made the way it was. Escape From Pompeii has Isabel and a journalist going back in time (by accident) to see the ancient city the way it was before Vesuvius erupted, as well as the day of the eruption. They see the way the Romans lived, what they did for enjoyment, and finally how they reacted to the eruption, and how many met their end.
All of the books are well written, with short, concise sentences for easy comprehension. They are broken up into chapters that focus on a particular topic, and there is a vocabulary/pronunciation guide at the end, as well as “Further Reading” recommendations on the topics. Also included throughout the stories are short asides that give more detail about something covered on the particular page, such as the graffiti found at Pompeii. The stories aren’t just about teaching a topic, though. The information is woven into a basic plot and there is some action, and moments of danger for Isabel to escape from.
The social sciences can be a tough subject to get kids interested in, with textbooks that emphasize dates and events more than the hows and whys that really make the subject interesting. Coming from a social sciences background myself, I think it’s great that there’s someone out there trying to show kids that history and anthropology can be just as fascinating as the harder sciences, which is just what these Graphic Expeditions do. These books would be a great addition to any library.
Images © Capstone Press.