WHY THINGS CHANGE: The Story of Evolution by Jeanne Bendick

WHY THINGS CHANGE: The Story of Evolution

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From the time when ""there were no living things at all"" to the emergence ""out of one of the primates"" of that mammal with the ""wonderful brain"" -- in 59 pages of which the drab, easily overlooked pictures take up more space than the words. As for the text, Bendick makes it all extremely simple -- ""It's hard to even think about how slowly living things evolve"" and ""a successful plant or animal doesn't mean that it is famous. It means that it is fitted, or adapted, to the life it lives"" -- but simple isn't quite the same as clear. An easy word might bear an unfamiliar meaning (some kinds of living things can survive without change ""because they are not too special""), the early definition of evolution (as ""the slow changing of living things so they can keep on going in the changing world around them"") never points out that it's not the individual living thing that changes, Bendick's few generalizations are oddly ambiguous (""the amphibians themselves were never very important animals"" -- not famous?), and unexplained words (such as cell) are used loosely: the first plants and animals ""had one cell"" but later ""some cells joined together to make bigger, more complex plants and animals"" (with some sort of forward-looking Bergsonian purpose?). In all, what this childishly written introduction chiefly explains is why young readers yawn.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1973
Publisher: Parents' Magazine Press