The Evolution of an Idea

Candlewick/MITeen. (Discovering Life’s Story: Bk. 2). May 2024. 192p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781536222944.
Gr 8 Up–This is a thoughtful, engaging read of Western scientific thought that starts with an introduction to the Age of Enlightenment, tracing the momentum of those ideas over time. Across 12 chapters in this follow-up to Discovering Life’s Story: Biology’s Beginnings, readers are introduced to Carl Linnaeus and his System of Nature; Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon’s biology studies; the development of evolutionary theory; Charles Darwin; Gregor Mendel; and more. End pages include a brief “Looking Ahead” essay, as well as an index, further reading, bibliography, and endnotes for the chapters. While some of this history of science includes familiar names and ideas, Hakim’s writing style is a fresh approach, opting for an accessible tone. Each chapter opens with a casual introduction that sums up what is to come in a way that makes the content seem approachable and may serve as a useful review tool later. Throughout the book, Hakim also includes a variety of interesting sidebars boxes giving readers a glimpse into deeper or tangential connections or archival finds. In this modern history of Western science, Hakim takes a multidisciplinary approach, and connects the science to the social, political, and cultural environments in which these scientists are working.
VERDICT An engaging volume for young readers to use for reference—or, maybe, as their next nonfiction read.

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