Review of Bomb (Graphic Novel): The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon

Bomb (Graphic Novel): The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon Bomb (Graphic Novel): The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon
by Steve Sheinkin; illus. by Nick Bertozzi
Middle School, High School    Roaring Brook    256 pp.
1/23    9781250206732    $24.99
Paper ed.  9781250206749    $17.99

Sheinkin’s work of award-winning narrative nonfiction (Bomb, rev. 11/12) is here sharpened by the author’s own graphic adaptation—and portrayed through Bertozzi’s skillful cartooning—amplifying the drama, intrigue, and brutality irrevocably linked with the dawn of the atomic age. In five chapters, roughly spanning the years of WWII, Sheinkin cogently interconnects a massive cast of world leaders, scientists, military personnel, spies, and civilians across a mostly chronological account of the Manhattan Project. Unique for this new edition, Sheinkin chose the post-war interrogation of Harry Gold (a Philadelphia factory worker who spied for the Soviets) as the narrative’s through line. This clever bit of storytelling permits the omniscient narrator to seamlessly move between key events as they are discussed during Gold’s hardboiled questioning. The Golden Age–style illustrations generally adhere to an efficient three-tier, nine-panel page layout yet regularly shift in size, shape, and number to underscore significant moments and ideas. Notably, a stark white page is used to depict the detonation of the Little Boy atomic bomb over Hiroshima. Back matter includes an author’s note describing Sheinkin’s adaptation process, while an informative epilogue ends on a slightly more ominous note than the original: “How does this story end? We don’t know—because it’s still going on. And, like it or not, you’re in it.”

From the January/February 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Patrick Gall
Patrick Gall works as a librarian for children in preschool through eighth grade at the Catherine Cook School in Chicago.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.