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.
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