Reviewed by CBC Reviewer
Only a fascinating book like this one could do justice to the discoveries that Charles Darwin made nearly 200 years ago in the Galapagos Islands. Beginning with the formation of volcanic islands, the author tells stories of succession on these islands over millions of years.
As both author and illustrator, Chin tells the story seamlessly. One or two large–print sentences describe each illustration or series of illustrations. Readers can see the gradual evolution of finches' beaks, tortoise shells, and cormorant body shapes and relate each change to the pressure to survive in the island environment. Going beyond what is in a standard description of the island, Chin also describes the disappearance of some species as the islands become older and less rugged.
Introducing students to natural selection becomes less daunting with a resource like this NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book in the classroom. It is unique in its approach, looking at the species of the Galapagos over time rather than space. While the book is very easy to read, the ideas are rich and deep. The book is one that merits re–reading and repeated discussion in the middle level classroom.
Review posted on 1/16/2013