The Story of Life: A First Book About Evolution; Catherine Barr & Steve Williams, illustrated by Amy Husband
Right, first there were some volcanoes and then in the water some small bits came together and the first life appeared on earth. Well, by life I mean a small blob. Then these blobs got bigger and some became animals - let’s call them fish. Some fish with weird fins that looked like legs waddled onto land and creatures started living in swamps and forests. Then there was a big disaster and everything died - no one really knows what happens. When I say everything, I mean everything apart from some lizards who laid some eggs which meant more lizards and the lizards kept getting bigger and they became dinosaurs. There was also the appearance of some furry creatures (these were the first mammals and they are kind of important). A meteorite crashed into earth and everything died again. Well almost everything, this time the furry animals survived (told you they were important). These furry animals evolved into monkeys and apes and then into the first humans. The humans didn’t want to stay in one place so they walked off in search of food and new places to live. And finally there were humans everywhere…phew!
The Story of Life starts off 4.5 billion years ago when nothing lived on earth and the air was filled with the smell and noise of erupting volcanoes. From this opening, readers are then taken on a journey through a further fourteen double page spreads that include the first signs of life on earth, life forming in the oceans, the dinosaurs, an icy darkness, monkeys and apes, and finally to humans.
In 4.5 billion years a lot has happened. The Story of Life does a great job of detailing significant periods of evolution and making a tricky concept understandable and accessible to young readers. Each double page spread is fully illustrated, annotated and labelled. Simple explanations chart the progression of evolution and a timeline charts the moving of time on the bottom of the page. The book is visually appealing and the illustrations are playful and have lots of detail.
The most important double page spread is the last one, and it is the one that depicts today. After journeying through 4.5 billion years readers will learn that humans are the only ones in the whole of history who have and are actively destroying their own planet, killing off plants and animals and having an impact on the climate.
The Story of Life is the perfect book for minds that are curious about Earth and it helps answer some of life’s big questions. It is filled with interesting information and will appeal to a wide age-range of readers.
Recommended for 6+.
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