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Evolution

Bonner, Hannah  When Fish Got Feet, When Bugs Were Big, & When Dinos Dawned: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life on Earth
Gr. 4–6
     128 pp.     National Geographic

New ed. Bonner’s excellent trilogy (published between 2004 and 2012) of the evolution of life from 430 to 65 million years ago — the rise and fall of both flora and fauna — is updated and combined into a single volume. The reprint preserves her masterful balance of straight-up, in-depth scientific information and humor, both in text and illustration. Newly added is a collection of activities totally in the spirit of the original books. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Prehistoric Life; Prehistoric life—Dinosaurs; Evolution

Broom, Jenny  Animalium
Gr. 4–6     96 pp.     Candlewick/Big Picture

Illustrated by Katie Scott. Grouping animals according to where they appear on the evolutionary tree of animal life, this compendium describes the common characteristics of each group such as frogs, penguins, or marsupials. The science-based text draws connections for readers on how species evolved, and the eye-catching digitally colored pen-and-ink illustrations, set against an ecru background, lend the beautifully designed oversize book an Audubon-esque, field-journal feel. Websites. Ind.
Subjects: Natural History; Evolution; Animals; Biodiversity

Heos, Bridget  Shell, Beak, Tusk: Shared Traits and the Wonders of Adaptation
Gr. K–3
     32 pp.     Houghton

This book introduces convergent evolution, in which unrelated species develop similar survival traits. Double-page spreads feature two animals with the same feature (e.g., spikes, camouflage, bioluminescence, bills); the accessible text briefly explains how each animal makes use of the shared trait, and up-close photos effectively juxtapose the creatures (e.g., turtle and snail, bird and bat, parrot and octopus). Bib., ind.
Subjects: Natural History; Evolution; Animals; Animal defenses; Survival

Stefoff, Rebecca, Adapter  Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species”: Young Readers Edition
Middle school, high school     170 pp.     Atheneum

Illustrated by Teagan White. Darwin’s groundbreaking argument for biological evolution is made accessible for today’s teens, with edits for language and length and the removal of now-inaccurate ideas. After a brief biographical introduction, Stefoff’s adapted text follows the structure of Darwin’s original but is augmented with well-captioned photographs and diagrams, helpful annotations, and sidebars that explain the work of his contemporaries and today’s modern understandings. Reading list, websites. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Natural History; Darwin, Charles; Evolution; Naturalists; Biology

Tweet, Jonathan  Grandmother Fish: A Child’s First Book of Evolution
Gr. K–3
     40 pp.     Feiwel

Illustrated by Karen Lewis. In a folktale-esque narrative (“Grandmother Fish had many kinds of grandchildren”), this book draws a path from fish to human along a branch of the evolutionary tree. Friendly illustrations paired with text inviting young readers to move or sound like animals make the subject approachable. An appendix includes “our evolutionary family tree” and extensive notes explaining concepts of evolution and how to discuss them with children.
Subjects: Natural History; Evolution

From the May 2019 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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