Late, lubberly, unlikely to survive fitter treatments.

Long retraces the courses of both Darwin’s voyage aboard the Beagle and the growth of his epochal insight into evolution’s driving mechanism.

Trailing a flotilla of publications over the past decade celebrating the 200th anniversary of the naturalist’s birth and the 150th of his magnum opus, this unexceptional account sails a course that has been more ably navigated—most recently, for example, in Fabien Grolleau’s graphic Darwin: Voyage of the Beagle (2019) and annotated, illustrated adaptations of On the Origin of Species by Rebecca Stefoff (2018) and Sabina Radeva (2019). Notable here is how the influential role that John Edmonstone, a formerly enslaved taxidermist from Guyana, played in shaping the young Darwin’s interests and skills is highlighted in both the narrative and with a full-page portrait by Kalda (who also adds staid views of modern students of various ethnicities, including one wearing a hijab, into the closing summary). Many other important predecessors and colleagues are relegated to an appendix, however. The author also tries to sail too close to the wind with blanket claims that before Darwin scientists reckoned Earth’s age in just thousands of years (not all of them) and that Origin actually kicked off the “long-running battle between science and religion” (Galileo, among others, might disagree). Stick with more seaworthy vessels.

Late, lubberly, unlikely to survive fitter treatments. (glossary, timeline) (Illustrated biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: July 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4968-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020


In this glossy photo essay, the author briefly recounts the study and exploration of the moon, beginning with Stonehenge and concluding with the 1998–99 unmanned probe, Lunar Prospector. Most of the dramatic photographs come from NASA and will introduce a new generation of space enthusiasts to the past missions of Project Mercury, Gemini, and most especially the moon missions, Apollo 1–17. There are plenty of photographs of various astronauts in space capsules, space suits, and walking on the moon. Sometimes photographs are superimposed one on another, making it difficult to read. For example, one photograph shows the command module Columbia as photographed from the lunar module and an insert shows the 15-layer space suit and gear Neil Armstrong would wear for moonwalking. That’s a lot to process on one page. Still, the awesome images of footprints on the moon, raising the American flag, and earthrise from the moon, cannot help but raise shivers. The author concludes with a timeline of exploration, Web sites, recommended books, and picture credits. For NASA memorabilia collectors, end papers show the Apollo space badges for missions 11–17. Useful for replacing aging space titles. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-57091-408-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001



Thousands of years ago, the Komodo dragon may have inspired dragon legends in China and beyond. In more recent times, researchers from all over the world have traveled to the Lesser Sunda Islands of Indonesia to study the Komodo dragon. This lively if somewhat haphazardly organized account focuses on the efforts of contemporary researchers, presents some of their cooler findings (female dragons can reproduce through parthenogenesis; their saliva is laced with deadly bacteria) and profiles a few captive specimens. Mostly color photographs from a variety of sources adorn almost every page, and captions add to the information. Learning about the Komodo dragon is not for the faint of heart, and the photos show the wild beasts in all their gory glory. The extensive backmatter includes brief facts about Indonesia, more information on the Komodo dragon life cycle and its use of smell and conservation information. A portion of the sales will be donated to the Komodo Survival Program. (bibliography, further reading, glossary, websites, index, author’s note) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59078-757-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

Close Quickview