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83 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2003
I read this book to my third grade son and it has been such a huge help. He has been asking a lot of questions about evolution and I was having a hard time explaining it to him on his level. This book introduces the idea of the wide variety of species living on this planet; theories on how life first formed; and walks the reader through the fossil record of our planet. It does all of this simply and with the format of a child's picture book. The illustrations are beautiful and captivating but remarkable simple. Perfect for 7 to 10 year olds.
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80 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2004
FABULOUS book introducing the evolution of the earth and all its life forms! Perfect for children pre-k through all of the elementary school years (and parents too!). This book mentions Charles Darwin, the Galapagos Islands, survival of the fittest, variation and mutation, extinction, and more. Nice pictures. Highly recommended for homeschoolers.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
I'm always on the look-out for engaging, informative books on the development of life on earth. My kids and I have actually read quite a few of them. I consider this book one of the better ones for young kids. It does not speak down to kids, nor is it too complicated. The illustrations are Eric Carle-esque with their paper designs and interesting to young ones.

This books begins with first bacteria and progresses through the emergence of human life. However, it does not cover the process of human development at all. It simply says that modern humans appeared on earth 130,000 years ago. I was a little disappointed by this book's lack of detail in the area of human development. If you are looking for a book to introduce human evolution to kids, this one is not for you. If you simply want to introduce Darwinism and the survival of the fittest concept--this book is great.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2008
As others have said, this book is quite good, with beautiful collages as illustrations. The first half of the book is simple, following Earth's great geologic ages and the major lifeforms therein. The second half is about the process of biological evolution itself, and much wordier (you may have to slow down and explain a bit for the kids here -- evolution is, after all, a complex process).

There are two details I'd like to mention.

First, when describing the rise of the dinosaurs, an error in paleontology: "They live in the sea, on the land, and in the air." This is a popular misconception. There were two main groups of aquatic reptiles during the Mesozoic, neither of them dinosaurian: the plesiosaurs (think "Loch Ness Monster") and the ichthyosaurs (huge fish-shaped "lizards"). There were no flying dinosaurs (unless one counts birds, of course); it was the pterosaurs ("wing lizards") that dominated the skies. Pterosaurs, though, like crocodilians and dinosaurs, WERE part of the larger group Archosauria ("ruling lizards"), and so more closely related to crocs and dinos (and birds) than to any other reptiles.

A second and IMHO a minor point: as another reviewer mentions, this book, when touching upon specifically human evolution, claims that the "ancestors of early humans" (i.e., ancient bipedal hominids) are "descended from apes." Some may argue. I wouldn't -- at least, not on that particular point. Our last common ancestor with the (other) great apes (the rest of family Hominidae) was most surely conservative in body form, and likely strongly resembled our living relatives. (And an aside: to say these hominids were "descended from apes" ... well, they WERE apes, as are modern humans. What else would they be?)

Altogether, though, great for the young (but not the very young), and worth the buy.
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85 of 101 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2005
I bought this book because my 7-year-old has learned to say hi to Jesus when he passes by a church (thanks to grandma). He stopped believing in Mother Nature and I wanted to nip religious fanaticism in the bud. This book worked! It is beautifully illustrated, interesting, and full of cool facts. It furthered our discussions about creation vs. evolution and since my son is a lover of dinosaurs, he is on his way to scientific allegiance. I highly reccommend it to any parent who wants to teach children about the history of the earth and to unteach insipid mythology. *Although I must warn, it has quite a bit of writing and big words for young children.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2007
This book is a very broad survey of life on Earth basics for children new to learning about science, biology, and evolution. It's already proved invaluable in jumpstarting conversations with them about more specific points in evolutionary history (like horse evolution--in the book, there's a brief blurb about the first horses that led into a discussion about "toes" and grasslands and other specifics of their changes over time). My children are also able to make connections to other things that have read, learned, or noticed in other places, too, thanks in large part to the multitude of charming illustrations and varied species to support and flavor broad, boiled-down theoretical points. Fantastic classic picture-book with lots of opportunities for sparking interest, making connections, and explaining (in simple terms) the magnificence of evolutionary theory.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2010
I am homeschooling my child, partially because I don't want his education dumbed down so as not to offend the religious extremists (believe me, textbooks have been dumbed down and certain subjects are skipped simply to avoid offended parents). So,
I have been looking for books appropriate for a young child that provide an overview the evolution of life on earth. I want to provide for him a sense of where he belongs within the big picture. This book accomplishes that.

The book is listed for 9-12 year olds and elsewhere for 6-10 year olds. I just read it to my six year old and it took a little bit of work to keep him with it and a few explanations of what things meant, but to the book's credit (and his), he did stay with it. I would say its appropriate for 6-10 with an adult explaining it. 9-12 is more appropriate for independent reading.

The complaint about man not being descended from apes is silly since humans are considered to be apes and are minimally descended from themselves. I'm assuming the author of that complaint has some point, but I don't think its one that in any way affects the value of this book.

If I were to change one thing about the book, I would get rid of the comparison of the history of earth to now as being 24 hours. I think that just confuses the issue. Instead, provide the time line without the 24 hours and the concept will be visually communicated without the added problem to have to explain what 24 hour hours has to do with it.

Highly recommended book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
My 4h grade son and I love this book! The collage illustrations in the oversized book are simple, attractive and uncluttered. We discussed them and guessed how they are made.

The text is also clear and uncluttered. My son found it easy to understand. We especially liked the part on Natural Selection which showed a bunch of frogs and how only the fitest survived.

The heads of several of Darwin's finches are shown to illustrate the difference in their beaks, and it points out how each beak is suited to the birds' diet.

Highly Recommended
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2010
Minus one star only because of a couple of oversimplifications pointed out by other reviewers. Still, I took a chance, ordered it, and, wow, it was exactly what was needed: an eye-pleasing intro. It's too bad this thing is not carried (in store) in either of the big chains down here in Southern California.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2009
We really need to teach our children evolution. This is a good book to reach this goal. Recomended.
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