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Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be Hardcover – February 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—Loxton uses a combination of Q & A and exposition in his conversational text to explore the process of evolution. He even makes reference to religion, stating that while science, exemplary in explaining the functionalism of the natural world, "can't tell us what those discoveries mean in a spiritual sense." Topics addressed include whether it is possible to see new species evolve, the evolution of flight, and the dearth of many "transitional" fossils. Other facing-page units discuss evolutionary compromises, Darwinian theory, and the fact that "survival of the fittest" may often be the "survival of the adequate." Colorful illustrations and diagrams appear on every page, and the book uses a variety of faces/heads with each "question," giving the impression they are asked by individuals. More difficult than Steve Jenkins's Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution (Houghton, 2002), almost on par with Robert Winston's Evolution Revolution (2009), and simpler than Linda Gamlin's Evolution (2009, both DK), this title will appeal to researchers.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

This straightforward explanation and defense of the theory of evolution grew out of material published in 2007 in Junior Skeptic, the children’s section of a quarterly science education and advocacy magazine published in Canada. The author-illustrator, Junior Skeptic’s editor, describes evolution as the changes of life on earth over time as shown first through fossil finds and geological layers. Darwin’s theory of natural selection explained its workings, and now the process has been demonstrated in a variety of ways. Loxton also discusses convergent evolution, evolutionary compromises, and human ancestry, and he addresses some common concerns. His message is clear: “There is no intelligence—no brain—behind evolution that is running things.” Generously illustrated with photographs, cartoons, diagrams, and computer-generated images of ancient creatures, this is attractively designed. But some illustrations are unlabeled: a large ammonite and the reconstructed face of the hominid fossil known as Lucy are identified only on the jacket flap. The additional lack of sources and bibliography make this a useful but flawed resource. Grades 4-7. --Kathleen Isaacs
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 13 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 8
  • Lexile Measure: 1060L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press, Ltd. (February 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554534305
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554534302
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.4 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 101 people found the following review helpful By John Shepherd on January 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a great kid's book about evolution. However, adults will also find it well worth reading. While it explains the substance of evolution in the straight forward way typical of a "children's" book, it presents illustrations, explanations, and examples useful for those of us who do not happen to be a biologist, geologist or similar type of scientist. The last chapter discusses many of the misconceptions about evolution without being condescending or "preachy." Many books on evolution are fairly technical and often rather dry. This book is neither. For some of us, this could be the "missing link" enabling us to better understand more comprehensive writing and discussions on evolution. Buy it for your kids but read it before you give it to them!
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful By David Peterman on January 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Even though this book is targeted for kids 8-13, it is so well-written and beautiful to look at that it can be appreciated by anyone of any age. It's not often that an incredibly complex process is explained in such a lucid, straightforward manner... maybe the author could tackle string theory next?!
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Alric Lopez on January 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Breathtaking illustrations with lucid explanations that are not dumbed down for children; just very accessible.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By B. Radford on August 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Evolution by natural selection is not necessarily clear or intuitive. Evolution is not inherently obvious; it is a slow, complex process with many nuances. Whether stunted by a poor educational system or religious fundamentalists, it is a minor tragedy that one of the greatest scientific ideas in history remains the subject of dispute.

That is why books like Loxton's Evolution are important. This book is aimed at children and teens who want a solid understanding of evolution's fundamentals. Loxton has a lot of ground to cover, and he begins by noting that different fossils are found in different geological strata--a fact that suggested to early researchers that many now-extinct animals had once roamed the planet (and much longer ago than most people could imagine). Evolution goes on to touch on a wide variety of subjects related to evolution, from DNA to the alleged "living dinosaur" mokele-mbembe. Along the way, new concepts such as species and mutation are introduced, often in the form of posed questions. Charles Darwin's experiments are briefly described, including his research into avian inbreeding and the variations in beaks in isolated populations of Galapagos island finches. The elements of evolution are explained in terms that are neither dumbed-down nor too complex for its target audience.

Loxton, editor of Junior Skeptic, also shows off his considerable illustration skills. The book is clearly written for children, and eye-catching graphics are of course a necessity. Every page has one or more enticing, full-color images illustrating everything from dinosaurs to the bird-dinosaur Archaeopteryx to cute, flirty little zebra-like things called Zooks.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By D. Wilkinson on June 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my daughters, and we've been going through it together. The kids love it--I suspect that the gorgeous illustrations and the conversational tone really help there--and I'm very appreciative of the way the material is presented. All the material is engaging, and Loxton doesn't talk down to his young audience. While my two (both almost 7) still need a little help with some of the concepts, I'm sure that they'd have no problem with most of it on their own in a year or two. The question-and-answer portion of the second half of the book, in particular, is almost like a little introduction to critical thinking.

We liked it so much we bought copies for our (cash-strapped) town and elementary school libraries--not sure I can give it a stronger recommendation than that!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. Leigh Whitaker on June 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my 6 year old, who had been asking a lot of questions about why certain plants or animals were like this, or like that. I have a degree in cellular and molecular biology, so I have a pretty good understanding of evolution, but found it hard to explain to a 6 year old. He doesn't know much about genetics, heredity, age of the earth, geology, selective breeding, or any of those things to give him a background for understanding evolution. It's a hard concept for many adults, so I was really struggling with how to start explaining it to him in a way that would make sense.

This book was great. Probably a bit above the level for a 6 year old, but with lots of discussion and further examples from me as we read, he really enjoyed it and now has a pretty good idea of what evolution is and how it works.

The first part of the book is an explanation of evolution and the tenets of natural selection. It is very well done, with lots of illustrations and pictures. He does a good job of breaking the concepts down in a way that kids can understand without dumbing them down to the point that they become inaccurate. Gives the kids enough information to understand that it's not magical, but not so much that it's entirely over their heads.

The second part of the book is framed as a series of questions you might hear from people skeptical of evolution. He answers the questions respectfully and accurately. There is a small section (about 1/3 of a page) on religion, and he does a wonderful job explaining what science can tell us versus the role of religion. Very respectful of religious beliefs, in my opinion.

My son especially loved the several pages on human evolution and had me read them to him over and over again.
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