By Hubert Reeves, Nelly Boutinot & Daniel Casanave, coloured by Claire Champion and translated by Joseph Laredo (Europe Comics)
No ISBN: digital release only
Winâ€™s Christmas Gift Recommendation: Lasting Lessons Lavishly Limned and Laudably Learnedâ€¦ 9/10
Itâ€™s sometimes easy to forget that other countries have national treasures, too: popular spokes-folk sharing their passions for the good of us all. Living folk, that is, not pilfered artefacts taken into â€œprotective custodyâ€ by most western â€œexplorersâ€ whilst visiting other peopleâ€™s continents: thatâ€™s just shameful and unforgivableâ€¦
Sir David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, Professors Brian Cox, Lucy Worsley, Neil DeGrasse Tyson and many others have translated their passions into education, elucidation, mass entertainment and good works, but they are not alone and most nations have their own voices of wonder, reason and sanity. For French-speakers, one of those effulgent natural educators is Professor Hubert Reeves.
Born Quebecois in 1932, raised and educated in Montreal but now resident in Paris, the physicist and professional educator is a major name in Thermonuclear Reactions, Light Nuclei and â€œPositroniumâ€; advises NASA and has – since 1965 – been Director of Research at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique.
In later life he became the go-to guy for science stuff on French TV and has contrived a series of bande dessinÃ©e detailing Earthâ€™s rapidly dwindling and almost expired bounties. Following the translated book featured here – which started life in 2017 as Hubert Reeves explique: La bioversitÃ© – he turned his sagacious eye to Oceans and Forests, which Iâ€™ll probably get around to later, assuming we still have any next yearâ€¦
Working with co-writer Nelly Boutinot (vice-president of the Humanity and Biodiversity Association) and publisher/illustrator Daniel Casanave (Shelly; Romantica; Une Aventure rocambolesque) the Man of Letters has here inserted himself into a gentle and laconic nature ramble with a group of school children exploring lush countryside which inescapably includes all our mighty works. Delivered with simple but strictly factual directness in a captivating cartoon style that enchants and seduces, the relationships and shared history of cities, suspension bridges and other technologies is deconstructed in terms of their impact on the natural world.
Clarifying and connecting the link between microorganisms and petrochemicals; weather cycles and climate change; the balance between prey and predators in healthy ecosystems; the impact of invasive species (both deliberately imported and free-roaming); the cost to us all of every extinction and the no-brainer importance and function of the oxygen cycle that keeps us all alive, Le Professeur makes his case and proves his points while exulting in the majesty and complexity of existenceâ€¦
Explained with stunning clarity using powerful symbols and examples from all across the embattled globe, yet still able to end on an optimistic note, Hubert Reeves Explains Biodiversity affords a superb and satisfying life lesson that belongs in every classroom, library and boardroom. Get it for the kids, or maybe theyâ€™ll get it for youâ€¦
Â© 2019 – LE LOMBARD (DARGAUD-LOMBARD s.a.) â€“ CASANAVE, REEVES, & BOUTINOT