Jon Chad
Roaring Brook Press ($15.99)

It isn’t often that artistic innovation, high-level education, and just plain fun get crammed into the same package, but such is the case with Jon Chad’s marvelous children’s book Leo Geo. The book’s designed as a skinny vertical strip, as befits its topic: a journey to the center of the earth. Leo mellifluously describes the science behind his trip the whole way down (and back again)—though the story is not without some science fictional diversions along the way too, like the “quadclops” our explorer hero finds at the earth’s core. Chad’s vertical cartoon is an impressive architectural feat, and his playful sense of humor doesn’t take away from the fact that you (I mean, erm, your kids) will learn all about geology and biology along the way.