From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—The first part of this book gives the background and context in which Darwin developed his theory of natural selection. Arriving home in 1836 after five years of exploration aboard the Beagle
, he is asked to explain what he learned. Thus the structure of this graphic novel is established. Through his voice, readers learn about his discoveries and observations, his correspondence with other scientists who helped him formulate his theories, as well as his personal life. The second section highlights the salient points of the original On the Origin of Species
. Excerpts from it are included in almost every frame, carefully selected to illuminate the argument. They are differentiated by a gray background while dialogue bubbles and other more current scientific information appear on a white background. In the last section, Darwin looks into the future to explain important advances in the scientific world after the publication of Species
, such as the acceptance of Mendelian genetics in 1900, the idea of continental drift in 1911, genetic recombination in 1931, the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953, and the mapping of the human genome in 2000. Illustrations vary in size and are vital in illuminating text; animals are particularly colorful and well executed. The concepts introduced range from straightforward to highly complicated, so readers still have to work to grasp scientific meaning. However, on the 150th anniversary of Darwin's publication, one could not ask for a finer contribution to the realm of scientific writing.—Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY
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About the Author
Michael Keller, an award-winning journalist and writer, has a bachelor of science degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Florida and a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Nicolle Rager Fuller is a professional illustrator, with a bachelor of arts degree in biochemistry from Lewis and Clark College and a graduate certificate in science illustration from the University of California-Santa Cruz. She lives in Washinton, DC, with her husband.