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Life Story Hardcover – November 28, 2009

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Hardcover, November 28, 2009
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (November 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547195087
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547195087
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 9.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,092,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"The drama of Life is a continuing story," says Burton in her epilogue; she amply demonstrates this in her magnificent description of the evolutionary process, with text and paintings presented as a five-act play. All ages.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


"Beginning with the birth of the Sun and continuing through the Earth's creation, the emergence and evolution of animal life, up to the changing seasons of the present, it's a lyrical and informative journey."--Publishers Weekly

More About the Author

Virginia Lee Burton was the talented author and illustrator of some of the most enduring books ever written for children. The winner of the 1942 Caldecott Medal for The Little House, Burton's books include heroes and happy endings, lively illustrations, and a dash of nostalgia. She lived with her two sons, Aristides and Michael, and her husband George Demetrios, the sculptor, in a section of Gloucester, Massachusetts, called Folly Cove. Here she taught a class in design and from it emerged the Folly Cove designers, a group of internationally known professional artisans.

Customer Reviews

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See all 31 customer reviews
I remember reading this book as a child and it was instantly one of my favorites.
OldDoc Hudson
It's highly informative, too, for a young reader (or even an old one), and it was one of the most memorable and entertaining "educational" books I read as a child.
Joseph Geni
I absolutely love how Virginia Lee Burton's mind works as demonstrated in her books.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca on January 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
My first-grade daughter has been fascinated by this book since she found the dog-eared 1962 copy in her school library last year. She's checked it out so many times that we're buying her a copy for her birthday.
It's not often you find a science book for kids that doesn't talk down to them, or leave out a lot of facts to make the book shorter or less wordy. This book has a lot of words, some of them big scientific words, but it is so elegantly written that my daughter has never lost interest. It begins with descriptions of the creation of the planet and solar system and follows the story of life on our planet through prehistoric times, to present day life on the author's farm. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful, very folk-art like, and very detailed. If your child is interested in dinosaurs, like my daughter is, this is a great book and will broaden their interest into other eras of prehistoric creatures.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By mama loves electronics on May 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is absolutely fabulous! It reads extremely well to preschoolers and possibly younger children as well. Even though earth science has progressed since this book's first printing, it's still a great introduction some of the basic, foundational concepts in the study of: Space/Time; Earth and the Universe; Geology and Prehistoric Life Science.

Also, the illustration's are beautiful! My 3yr. old is as fascinated by the pictures as he is by the story!

I read this book and "The Little House" by Burton when I was a child and it has been a wonderful experience to share these books with my son!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A. Drifter on October 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
As a child this was my favorite book as well. I had it checked out of the school library so often I may as well have owned it. I was thrilled to recently find it still in print, and I ordered a copy for my kids -- and one for myself!

The artwork is incredible. There's something about the style of it that almost... psychedelic. There's a swirling flow to it, with orderly ribbons of plants and animals winding into the distance. Yet while highly stylized, the artwork at the same time offers a wonderful sense of realism. The swamps of the Carboniferous seem so dark and mysterious; the verdant forests at the opening of the Cenezoic Era are infused with the essence of life born anew. And the intricate borders around the "program" at the beginning remind one of the lovingly detailed borders one might find along the high ceiling of some Victorian-era museum.

Even after 40 years, the science behind the book holds up amazingly well. If you want to inspire a love of natural history in your children, get them this book!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Daniel P. Smith on May 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful, wonderful book, indescribable, sui generis. We bought one to read to our son, he loved it, later we gave it away, bought another to read to our daughter, she loved it, later we gave it away, and now we have a grandchild who'll be ready for it in a few years so we bought another copy.

Ages 4 to 8? No, ages 4 to adult. I'm always teary-eyed by the time I read to the last page. The book is so sweet, so beautifully equipoised between art and science, between literal and stylized. This is not a book about earth sciences or evolution, it is about life itself and our place in time or space. It glides gracefully and effortlessly from astronomy to geology to biology to sociology to biography, from the story of life to the story of _a_ life. It has such a feeling of being an intergenerational _gift._

The marvelous illustrations have a genuine warmth and an impish humor. They don't have the overbearing solidity that the Disney animators gave to the "Rites of Spring" sequence in "Fantasia." They are approachable, unintimidating. It is true art to conceal art. They look like something a parent or a teacher or a child herself might draw--if those drawings actually came out the way the parent or teacher or child wanted them to.

When we asked about it at Porter Square Books in Cambridge we were thrilled when they said they had two copies in stock. Then everyone had trouble finding it. Because nobody knew what section it should be in, and my wife and I missed it because we were looking for a yellow cover and this edition is a light green.

(By the way, I'm not that big a fan of "Mike Mulligan and His Steamshovel;" the ending always seems creepy to me).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By goonius on December 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was searching for a really good book about dinosaurs for my almost 4 year old daughter who has just developed an interest in prehistoric creatures, when I stumbled onto this book.

We own other titles by Burton, The Little House, Katy and the Big Snow, and Calico the Wonder Horse, and love them all. But I think this book is the best. Why? Because, for my daughter, who demands daily readings, it has cracked the world of science wide open, spurring question after question about everything from meteors to the different types of rock, volcanoes, weather, the solar system, and on and on. Using the format of an engaging story, Burton has managed to touch on each of these subjects, and more, and pack so much information into a mere 80-pages. But it's not just rote information, it is a story, it is a play, and it is presented in such an entertaining way that it paves the path for a young child begin a journey of discovery that is integral to a life-long love and understanding of natural history and of the composition of the world around them.

Burton's story begins 'eons and eons ago' when 'our sun was born.' Each page is laid out with the left side containing a one-paragraph description of the period of time being sampled. This is paired with a tri-color visual narrative of what is happening, be it a 5-sketch demonstration of lava erupting from the Earth's core or the evolutionary progression of invertebrate organisms, plants, or animals. The drawings create almost a (slow) motion picture to accompany the words. The left page is dedicated to a full-color scene, set behind a stage, complete with drawn-aside red velvet curtain, and a curious little man examining the different goings-on. He, too, becomes more modern as the story progresses.
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