THE TREE OF LIFE by Peter Sís

THE TREE OF LIFE

Charles Darwin
by , illustrated by
Age Range: 8 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

Charles Darwin never learned to draw, so the record of his famous, five-year voyage on the Beagle consists solely of wonderfully detailed diaries, letters, and journals. He was not a “finished” naturalist when he joined the crew as a young man just out of college, but he was a topnotch observer. Sís’s superb visualization of Darwin’s diary entries makes a stunningly beautiful volume—gorgeously illustrated and designed, though crowded with detail and sometimes tiny print. Readers will spend hours poring over the pages, which, like the author’s Starry Messenger (1996), inventively places text, illustrations, charts, and maps throughout. Much information is imparted in illustrations and captions, and excerpts from Darwin’s diaries add authenticity. Unfortunately, the text never clearly explains what exactly Darwin’s ideas were and how he developed them. Young readers won’t see the connection between Darwin’s fieldwork and the theories derived from it. A fine introduction to Darwin, but a better explanation of the science, for older readers, can be found in Dorothy Hinshaw Patent’s Charles Darwin: The Life of a Revolutionary Thinker (2001). (author’s note) (Nonfiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-374-45628-3
Page count: 44pp
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2003




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