Santiago!: Santiago Ramon Y Cajal – Artist, Scientist, Troublemaker by Jay Hosler. Margaret Ferguson Books/Holiday House, 2022. 9780823450367
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5+
Format: Hardcover graphic biography
What did you like about the book? Santiago Ramon y Cajal was born in Spain in 1852. He was a genius troublemaker from a very early age. He skipped school, enlisted his younger brother’s help, along with a gang of worshipful followers, in creating mayhem. (He built a cannon, made his own gunpowder and blew up a large garden gate – for which he was actually put in jail!) He was always drawing, always – on walls as well as paper. He wanted to be an artist. But his father was a doctor, wanting Santiago to follow in his footsteps. His father sent him to a boarding school at which he was literally beaten and starved – but this did not stop him from making art or creating mischief. He did finally end up at medical school but his art existed and blossomed by illustrating the insides of the human body and its various systems. In 1906 he won the Nobel Prize for his microscopic masterpieces.
It’s pretty obvious that Hosler loved his subject. The illustrations are done comic book style, full of color, especially when showing Santiago’s beaten up face the many times he meets up with bullies or punishments. Humor is constant. Hosler supplies detailed information chapter by chapter, page by page after the story. There is a bibliography with websites.
Anything you did not like about the book? Perfection.
To whom would you recommend this book? Readers who like graphic novels will love this biographical true story of an amazing individual. Art teachers might use it to show the many obscure areas in which art may be created.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries
Where would you shelve it? Graphic biography
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Contributor, Youth Services Book Review
Date of Review: December 21. 2022
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