Kirkus Reviews QR Code
YOUNG CHARLES DARWIN AND THE VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE by Ruth Ashby

YOUNG CHARLES DARWIN AND THE VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE

By Ruth Ashby

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-56145-478-5
Publisher: Peachtree

Finding its niche neatly in this Season of Darwin, this slim volume recounts the world-changing voyage of the Beagle and what its young naturalist found while on it. Drawing heavily from primary sources, Ashby sketches out her protagonist with his own words, using them liberally throughout. The author couches the tale as an adventure, and what an adventure it is: Darwin encounters slavery, rides with Argentine gauchos, negotiates with tin-pot dictators, makes the acquaintance of various indigenous peoples, traverses the Andes and survives both an earthquake and a volcanic eruption—never ceasing to observe keenly all the while. The account ends with a brief sketch of the rest of his long life, including the publication of The Origin of Species, making it something of a mirror to such works as Deborah Heiligman’s Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith (2009), which concentrates on the scientist’s years of thought. Labeled an early reader by the publisher, the vocabulary and complexity better suit upper-elementary and middle-school readers, despite its slenderness. (map, author’s note, bibliography, suggested reading) (Biography. 10-14)