Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Review: How to Fake a Moon Landing (Cunningham)

AUTHOR: Darryl Cunningham
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Abrams ComicArts
PUBLICATION DATE: April 1, 2013
ISBN: 9781419706899
PAGES: 176
SOURCE: my library
GENRE: nonfiction graphic novel
SETTING: n/a
GIVE IT TO: MS, HS

SUMMARY: Attempts to debunk popular science myths and hoaxes. Was the moon landing really faked? Is fracking dangerous? Do chiropractors really cause more harm than good? Are measles vaccines safe? Is man-made global warming real?

WHAT I LIKED: The format. It's graphic nonfiction. Very readable and interesting and accessible for reluctant readers. I hope we see many more books like this published in the coming years.

It has classroom applications. I would love to use this with a high school global perspectives or debate class. I'd divide the students into groups of four, and let each group pick and debate their favorite issue. This would be an excellent segue into a position paper or even an IB Extended Essay topic. A science teacher might even partner with the art teacher to have students create their own "myth debunks" in comic format. So many ways to use in the classroom!

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:

How to alienate your audience when making an argument:
  1. Fail to identify who your audience is.
  2. Be as condescending as possible. Bonus points for smugness.
  3. Rant and lecture.
  4. Use blogs, opinion articles, and YouTube videos to back up your arguments.
Ugh, the arrogance. That little guy with the glasses (the author?) walks around inside the panels and tells all the middle school readers out there just how stupid they are if they don't agree with the science. Yes, this book is grounded in science. And for the most part, I agree with the author. But I did not feel like some of the issues got a fair shake.

My biggest problem with this book is audience. I can't imagine this was written for adult readers--it looks like a middle school graphic novel to me. If it were written for adults, then why does it look so juvenile? Why use a cute little penguin to tell us about the evils of global warming denial? No, this is written in a way that your average 12-year old would pick it up. So considering that, I did not like the tone of the little guy with the glasses. It feels like he is telling the impressionable young readers about how they--and likely their parents--are wrong about vaccines and chiropractors and evolution because they "don't believe the science."

It's too bad the other side to these issues isn't fairly represented. Despite the enormous scientific research that exists about these topics, the bibliography is full of blogs, opinion articles, and one-sided organizations.

The author discusses an anecdotal YouTube video of someone lighting their water on fire to prove the evils of fracking. Yes, I agree that fracking pollutes ground water. But is that really the best you've got? Methinks you do not question nearly as much as you think you do. Surely there is better science to back up the arguments. These are popular topics that are truly grounded in science; it shouldn't be too difficult to reference more authoritative sources.  

THE BOTTOM LINE: Love the format and the topics, but I'm not a fan of the condescending tone and failure to fairly represent all sides to the argument. Bibliographic sources are not the best available on these topics.  

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We have it. Now that I have read it, I plan to use it as a "what not to do" when presenting an argument.  

RATING BREAKDOWN:
  • Overall: 2/5
  • Creativity: 3/5
  • Characters: 1/5--ugh, that glasses guy!
  • Engrossing: 4/5
  • Writing: 3/5
  • Appeal to teens: 3/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5

CONTENT:
  • Language: none
  • Sexuality: none
  • Violence: none
  • Drugs/Alcohol: mild; medicinal drugs
  • Other: Librarians should know that evolution is presented as fact. Could cause some ruffled feathers.


1 comment:

  1. looks great book and other Darryl Cunningham is an excellent author.

    ReplyDelete

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