“The City of Ember: The Graphic Novel” by Jeanne DuPrau; adapted by Dallas Middaugh, art by Niklas Asker; Random House, $18.99.
Jeanne DuPrau’s 2003 novel about “The City of Ember,” a city in darkness where supplies are running low and the lights are always flickering, was a great candidate for a graphic novel. Niklas Asker creates a marvelous look to this city, aglow in the darkness, with its deteriorating underground pipeworks, its crumbling buildings, its shabby apartments. In the dim light, the residents – except for the greedy mayor – all look skinny and hungry, as they should. The graphic novel format allows some interesting different perspectives, like a view through the window of the apartment where Lina lives with her grandmother and baby sister.
The story opens with “assignment day,” when students learn what their jobs will be. (The only criticism might be that the two main characters, Doon and Lina, look so much alike it’s hard to tell them apart at first.) A graphic novel is a perfect way to illustrate the total darkness that surrounds people when the lights fail. It’s also a great way to illustrate Lina’s struggle to make sense of a ripped document that seems to provide clues left behind by “the builders” on a possible way out of the doomed city. Not every book makes a great graphic novel, but this one certainly does.
– Jean Westmoore


The Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humboldt Parkway, will explore bird watching in conjunction with its exhibit, “The Science of Sports,” from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday. Activities will include a visit with a live screech owl from the Buffalo Zoo Zoomobile, information from the Buffalo Audubon Society, binocular basics, and learning about bird feeders and more. For information, visit


Did you ever wonder how the stars got their names? The ancient Greeks, Babylonians and Egyptians were among the most avid stargazers. Each civilization named the 88 constellations, or group of stars, for mythological beings. To these ancient people, some of the constellations resembled animals, people or objects.
– Time Book of Why