Thursday, January 30, 2014

Understanding Photosynthesis with Max Axiom

Part of Capstone Press's Graphic Library imprint, Understanding Photosynthesis is one of the series of Max Axiom books. Axiom is a "super-scientist" who has amazing powers to shrink down and explore things on the atomic level as well as travel anywhere through time and space. He hosts all of the 24 books in the Graphic Science series aimed at 3rd and 4th grade level readers.These books cover a lot of ground in terms of scientific disciplines.
In this book, Axiom explores photosynthesis from the surface level, talking about how plants make food, and then moving into more complex areas. He explains plant parts, how plants get the materials necessary for photosynthesis, plant cell processes, and he even discusses elementary chemistry concerning how water and glucose molecules behave. I was impressed by how readable, accurate, and detailed this book was concerning its science information (and even double checked facts with my colleague Barry Golden).
The book is not really strong on plot, but the explanations and images combine very effectively to educate and inform. The narrative shifts in the end to a discussion of the water cycle and moves into a simplistic environmental message, but otherwise I found it informative in the best kind of visual ways.

This book was put together by a cadre of work-for-hire creators. Author Liam O'Donnell is an elementary school teacher and author of a number of books, including several informational graphic novels and the YA mystery series Geeked Out. The art is by Richard Dominguez and Charles Barnett IIIRichard Dominguez is best known for his creation El Gato Negro. Barnett III is a veteran comics inker who has lots of credits at the major comics companies.

This book has won a few awards, including Learning Magazine's Teachers' Choice Award for Children's Books and being named a Pennsylvania School Librarians Association's Young Adult Top Forty Nonfiction Title. In terms of informational text, I felt it had much to offer elementary readers, and it might also be a good resource for teachers of older students looking for supplemental visuals or a simpler explanatory text for instructional purposes.

A preview, reviews, and much more are available here from the publisher.


  1. These books cover a lot of ground in terms of scientific disciplines........

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  2. I have only read this one, and I will have to check out some more.

  3. Sterg, this is Richard Dominguez. I am the one and same RD who is also the creator of El Gato Negro, Nocturnal Warrior.

    1. Great! I am glad to hear from you, and I will amend the entry to reflect your work. Thanks for letting me know!