Sunday, March 1, 2009

One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin

One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin by Kathryn Lasky, Matthew Trueman (Illustrator)
Describes the life and work of the renowned nineteenth-century biologist who transformed conventional Western thought with his theory of natural evolution.


Ellen Heath/School Library Journal said...

...Large and humorous mixed-media illustrations will draw children to this large-format biography... Cartoonlike people have prominent noses, expressive faces, and enormous hands. Throughout, the naturalist appears to be both curious and hapless, a description he might have given himself in his own modest journals. Lasky's text balances the exuberant artwork with well-organized information, gracefully sprinkling in quotes from Darwin's own writing...the text devotes most of the space to Darwin's years on the Beagle, explaining how his discoveries in geology, paleontology, and animal anatomy on that trip led to his theory about evolution. Lasky uses Darwin's own words to show that he questioned the literal nature of the Bible and the divinity of Jesus, but that he wrote several times praising God as the Creator. Although the text is brief, it creates a clear view of a man who was troubled by the implications of his observations and who, at the end of his life, was more interested in experimenting with earthworms and carnivorous plants than in promoting his theory.

Kirkus Reviews said...

...Lasky jumps from event to event with little transition, stuffing Darwin's life into the remaining pages, an approach which seems likely to confuse child readers. Trueman's illustrations, though appealing, contribute to the confusion. The inclusion of various natural objects adds interest and complements the subject, but the oversized heads and button eyes of his characters create an incongruously cartoonish feel. A disappointing effort.

Anonymous said...

Charles Darwin definitely did some interesting work. Many people don't know that he had such a huge variety of subjects that he studied, including carnivorous plants!

And, his son took over his work and continued it too!