NONFICTION

Darwin’s Tree of Life

Crocodile Bks. Oct. 2019. 48p. glossary. index. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781623719197.
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Gr 3-6–Entwined in Charles Darwin’s theories and the tree of life, evolution is clearly explained. Well organized and beginning with a geology time chart, the book breaks out into ever-increasing complexity. Bright covers ancient times and how chemicals and heat acted as an evolutionary catalyst. There is quite a bit in between that is addressed in small bites. Author and illustrator have created a congenial mix, using tree limbs to symbolize the tree of life growing around each distinct blurb and then meandering across the double-page spread. Carpentier has created a bright, cheerful platform for the text. Her depiction of the life form and the tree of life enhances the text’s organization, making the huge time spans manageable in this successful overview. In the midst of this undertaking, only one bit of documentation is shared—namely, John Gould’s ornithological discoveries and how they influenced Darwin’s opus, The Origin of Species. More documentation is needed to cover all the discoveries that Darwin did not make. For example, Darwin did not identify the coelacanth in 1938; according to the Smithsonian Museum, it was discovered by Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer. Back matter consists of a glossary and an index.
VERDICT A pleasing visual representation that could benefit greatly from additional documentation. Purchase only if an overview of evolution is needed.

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