Large and humorous mixed-media illustrations will draw children to this large-format biography…Lasky's text balances the exuberant artwork with well-organized information, gracefully sprinkling in quotes from Darwin's own writing…creates a clear view of a man who was troubled by the implications of his observations and who, at the end of his life, was more interested in experimenting with earthworms and carnivorous plants than in promoting his theory.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Distilling tough concepts into light, conversational prose…a just-right introduction to Charles Darwin….colorful, cut-to-the-chase language …multilayered mixed-media illustrations; mostly paint, these also incorporate bits of flowers and weeds as well as string, paper and fabric.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
This accessible jaunt will easily situate the man as a natural adventurer in kids’ minds before he becomes just another stuffy old scientist.
An accessible presentation that’s likely to circulate briskly.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
This well-rounded look at Darwin is enhanced by the illustrations, which add a touch of whimsy to the pages.
—Library Media Connection
Darwin’s various adventures are broken up in ways that allow the reader to repeatedly enjoy pieces and parts of this title, possibly as a read-aloud. Trueman’s illustrations are fun and winsome; no dry scientific sketches here.
This intelligently and elegantly designed volume makes clear how much Darwin's ideas continue to create an impact on science, society and culture, a century and a half later.
Emphasize[s] Darwin’s ‘extraordinary adventures,’ the fun, the pleasure he took in observing wherever he was.
Colorful details about the great scientist bring him to life in full living color in this marvelous picture biography.
The text is full of small details that will grab the attention of young readers…Trueman uses his mixed mediums to great effect, and the addition of pressed flowers and plants to his already delightful paintings is especially effective.
—The Well-Read Child blog
Packed with tales of [Darwin’s] adventures, his ideas, and his work…well written and factually correct and contains absolutely beautiful artwork that is both whimsical and appealing.
—Science Books and Films
Brilliantly illuminates the life of the famed naturalist Charles Darwin.
—Journal News online
Works well to display Darwin s personality and the excitement of his forays into the natural world. The illustrations are a match to this approach and the style of the writing, with a slight air of the whimsical and lively, colorful immediacy.
Kathryn Lasky brilliantly illuminates the life of the famed naturalist Charles Darwin who gave birth to the ‘idea that scared the world…Matthew Trueman’s charming and intricate illustrations…convey the contradictions and humanity of Darwin.
Distills an enormous amount of difficult information into just enough text for young readers…Artist Trueman adds fun to the mix with large mixed media cartoon illustrations that appropriately incorporate bits of plants flowers and weeds…entertaining and friendly.
Skillfully blending watercolors, pencils, and inks, the art captures Darwin’s fascination with life around him, making this a compelling introduction to this important scientist’s life.
Distilling tough concepts into light, conversational prose, Lasky (John Muir) gives middle-graders a just-right introduction to Charles Darwin. In colorful, cut-to-the-chase language ( "He found anatomy class disgusting, and he once rushed out of an operating room, unable to stand the sight of blood"), she highlights Darwin's insatiable curiosity, his failures at school and his voyage aboard the Beagle. The author invites readers to follow Darwin's reasoning and the questions that led up to his theory of evolution. Taking advantage of the large trim size, Trueman (Noah's Mittens) up-ends perspective with multilayered mixed-media illustrations; mostly paint, these also incorporate bits of flowers and weeds as well as string, paper and fabric. Like the text, they aim for a homely, friendly style, as when young Darwin and his brother are shown gleefully exploding things in their homemade lab. Highly accessible. Ages 7-12. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Large and humorous mixed-media illustrations will draw children to this large-format biography. Using watercolor, graphite pencil, gouache, acrylic ink, colored pencil, and collage, Trueman captures Darwin's world and adventures. Cartoonlike people have prominent noses, expressive faces, and enormous hands. Throughout, the naturalist appears to be both curious and hapless, a description he might have given himself in his own modest journals. Lasky's text balances the exuberant artwork with well-organized information, gracefully sprinkling in quotes from Darwin's own writing. Touching briefly on his childhood, the text devotes most of the space to Darwin's years on the Beagle , explaining how his discoveries in geology, paleontology, and animal anatomy on that trip led to his theory about evolution. Lasky uses Darwin's own words to show that he questioned the literal nature of the Bible and the divinity of Jesus, but that he wrote several times praising God as the Creator. Although the text is brief, it creates a clear view of a man who was troubled by the implications of his observations and who, at the end of his life, was more interested in experimenting with earthworms and carnivorous plants than in promoting his theory.-Ellen Heath, Easton Area Public Library, Easton, PA
The upcoming bicentennial of Darwin's birth has already increased interest in his life and theories. Lasky, whose lively style has brought innumerable individuals, both well-known and obscure, to life for young audiences, makes an unexpected misstep here with a conversational narrative that is confusingly disjointed. A teeny-tiny note on the copyright page acknowledges that the event that gives the book its title, a collecting expedition in which Darwin transported three unusual beetles at once by holding one in each hand and the third in his mouth, did not take place in his young childhood, as implied by her version. Changing history, even in so minor a way, is an inauspicious beginning. From there Lasky jumps from event to event with little transition, stuffing Darwin's life into the remaining pages, an approach which seems likely to confuse child readers. Trueman's illustrations, though appealing, contribute to the confusion. The inclusion of various natural objects adds interest and complements the subject, but the oversized heads and button eyes of his characters create an incongruously cartoonish feel. A disappointing effort. (Biography. 8-10)