Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cartoon Histories

Something fun just arrived today via Amazon used.  We frequent a local bookstore as well as the library system as much as possible (and thanks for the establishment of that system goes to Mr. Ben Franklin!).  We've made great use of the inter-library hold option wherein we can have the books we need sent from different branches to your closest one, but I can't help but hold on to a fondness for Amazon and it's used marketplace.  Here's what came today:

Perfect for this year and for years to come, since we're focusing on early American history right now, poking around into the recesses of our past. A few pages in and I'm already chuckling - he makes learning about history way fun! Thanks, Mr. Gonick.  The drawings are worth the purchase alone - great characterizations who emote in delightful ways.

I discovered the whimsical, hilarious, catty nature of Larry Gonick last year in another one of his cartoon anthologies, the Cartoon History of the Universe.  If you happen to be a secular homeschooler, this tome should have a designated place of honor on your shelves (he starts off the history of the universe with the big bang theory).  Reading it will tickle your funny bones in all the right places.  We read parts of it last year together.  One of these days I'll make a point of working through it all the way and will save the rest for Max to take in when he is older.  Gonick's books serve as a delightful introduction to the whole of a subject, leaving plenty of room for digging deeper if you like. 

Due to the nature of cartoon strips, he doesn't mince words and will cover a big event in history with just one fell sentence.  It's up to you to figure out more about the event if you wish.  I'm contented with the big picture view right now and will leave much of the nitty gritty to diehard historians (people I very much admire, by the way).  Here's what the Cartoon History of the Universe looks like:

You can't possibly cover history of the WHOLE universe in one book, so Mr. Gonick went to the trouble of writing more of them:

He has several other cartoon guides to varying subjects like physics, chemistry, and even.......

Yes, he does.  Read the reviews about it before passing judgement.  This will be an excellent resource when the hormones begin their mighty march during the teen years and I plan on purchasing it at that time.  It's factual, straightforward and spot-on about the subject we humans seem to have a hard time discussing sometimes.  Don't be shy about this one - it's not vulgar.  Just the facts, ma'am with a lot of Gonick-derived humor thrown in.

Larry Gonick has a unique ability to make us humans look at ourselves and see how silly we are sometimes.  Boy, can we be silly.  Hats off to anyone who can effectively illustrate the big picture - that's why I like this guy.  

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