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The Picture-Book Club > August 2018: Charles Darwin (Master List and General Discussion)

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message 1: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Jul 24, 2018 07:02PM) (new)

Kathryn | 5947 comments Mod
In August, we will focus on picture books about Charles Darwin. This could include biographies of his life and adventures or more science/nature based books regarding the Galapagos etc.
Nominations are in messages 2 & 3 and you can vote in a comment below per instructions in message 4. Thanks!

*Apologies for not running a poll this month. The past few weeks have been really crazy here. I know Charles Darwin was recently nominated over on the Themes Nominations thread with some interest in that so I decided to pick that. We will resume with the Boston Globe-Horn Book Winners in September and I will run a poll then for October. If anyone has an idea for themes, please post here:

message 3: by Audrey (new)

Audrey (audjvoss12) | 10 comments One beetle too many



Tiny thinkers

Galapagos George

message 4: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5947 comments Mod
Thank you for the nominations! It is now time to vote for the six books you would most like to read with the group. Please post in a comment below by July 28th. Thank you :-)

Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6446 comments Mod
One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin is the only one I can get (and I do have it hand now).

message 7: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Jul 28, 2018 04:56PM) (new)

Kathryn | 5947 comments Mod
Since we only had two voters, we will be reading the books listed in Message 5. See you in August! :-)

This thread now becomes the Master List and General Discussion.

message 8: by Manybooks (last edited Jul 29, 2018 08:55AM) (new)

Manybooks | 7693 comments Mod
I originally thought that Tiny Thinkers: Charlie and the Tortoise would perhaps be a good introduction to Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution for younger children, but honestly, this book just makes me annoyed.

Although I do to a point understand that author M.J. Mouton wants with Charlie and the Tortoise to introduce Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution to younger children, sorry, but to and for me, Charlie and the Tortoise actually is pretty much and infuriatingly a total epic failure and in fact also makes use of a major fantasy and annoyingly grating falsehood. For the author's presented (fictional) storyline basically takes Charles Darwin and sends him as a very young boy on seemingly a solo mission to the Galapagos Islands (and has a talking glasses wearing tortoise appear for good measure, with said tortoise then even being the "person" teaching young Charlie Darwin about the theory of evolution, sigh). And no indeed, I for one cannot and will not even remotely accept this kind of groan-worthy authorial and narrational reimagining as in any way either scientifically or historically sound and acceptable, for since Charles Darwin was an adult when he went on his famous voyages as naturalist on the H.M.S. Beagle, in my humble opinion, ANY children's books on Charles Darwin (and this also and definitely should equally pertain to picture books geared towards the very young) must (in my opinion) at least keep Darwin as an adult (and not render him into a young child when describing his voyages on the Beagle, his discoveries, his considerations of survival of the fittest, as this is not only historically, factually untrue, it is to and for me personally and academically, intellectually also a total fairy tale and fantasy and as such as much a myth so to speak as the story of creation found in the Bible, not to mention a huge insult to children's intelligences and to children in general). Combined with the fact that I have also found Jezreel S. Cueva's accompanying illustrations aesthetically much too cutesy, too cartoon like and rather offensively silly (at least to and for my own personal tastes) I can and will only consider a one star ranking at best for Charlie and the Tortoise and absolutely do NOT recommend this book in ANY manner as a good and above all a scientifically and actually more to the point a historically accurate, useful and acceptable introduction to both Charles Darwin the man, the naturalist, and to his theory of evolution (and with especially the entire execution of how young "Charlie" learns about evolution via a talking Galapagos tortoise being so cringeworthy that I almost want to scream and growl).

Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6446 comments Mod
Charles Darwin's Around-the-World Adventure just came in to my little local library! Too bad it suffers in comparison to One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin and doesn't really add anything to the lore, nor does it suit a different age level any better. In fact, in the Further Reading, Lasky's book is listed.

One thing I particularly didn't like here was the use of the word 'change.' Finch's beaks do not change. The beaks of their offspring sometimes come in (slightly) different shapes & sizes, and etc. .... "Evolve" is the word, tyvm. Otherwise it sounds as if you're talking about Lamarckian evolution, which is more properly called Lamarckian inheritance.

Otoh, if you can't get a copy of One Beetle Too Many and can get this, it's perfectly fine and worth reading.

message 10: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7693 comments Mod
Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: The Story of Evolution (much too long and involved for the picture book crowd, but as it is detailed and with great illustrations, I am suggesting it as a title for the master list, a great introduction to evolution for older children and indeed also for interested teenagers, adults, actually anyone).

Clear, concisely systematic, with hardcore scientific facts that are nevertheless always well readable and approachable (in other words easily understood and uncomplicatedly explained), Laurence Pringle's Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: The Story of Evolution is in my opinion an in all ways perfect general introduction to evolution as a theory and fact, not only for the scientifically sound details and information presented and featured by the author but in my opinion also and perhaps even first and foremost because Laurence Pringle's text does not simply and mostly focus on Charles Darwin but rather that Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: The Story of Evolution meticulously dissects not only Darwin's life, his discoveries, his development of the scientific theory of evolution as it appears and is used, considered today but also and very much importantly points out and explains what there had been prior to Darwin (that for example, while in the past, while before Charles Darwin, most people, including the majority of philosophers and scientists, obviously believed in creationism and had of course also usually been taught if not mandated by both secular and religious authorities to believe in creationism, as early as 2500 years ago, Greek nature philosopher Xenophanes had in fact considered the earth as being ancient and that fossils were the remains of ancient plants and animals) and then what has come afterwards (what has transpired post Charles Darwin), especially with regard to supportive so-called missing links fossil, DNA and radioactive dating methods evidence which have ever increasingly proven without much doubt that the earth and life on earth have changed and evolved slowly over billions of years, that Charles Darwin's theories of evolution are indeed and therefore more than likely absolutely correct and the truth regarding the emergence and development of life on earth, including us, including humans.

Now although by its very nature often quite densely informational, Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: The Story of Evolution is definitely and happily also not ever written, not ever penned in an overly complicated (but always approachable and readable) manner (with the author's written textual details delightfully and evocatively graced by not only accompanying photographs but also by Steve Jenkins' always amazing and detailed collage like illustrations for a lovely but also thankfully understated marriage of text and images). And therefore, but of course with the I think necessary caveat that this is indeed my own and personal opinion, Laurence Pringle's Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: The Story of Evolution is a truly wonderful, perfect general introduction to the theory of evolution, conceptualised for and geared to older children, probably from the age of ten or so onwards, but really, Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: The Story of Evolution is in my opinion also a great general theory of evolution book and resource for interested adults, basically a book for everyone and anyone, as Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: The Story of Evolution really and truly touches and adequately describes all that is important and essential to know about evolution, both now and then, simply and in an unthreatening, never ever overly complicated manner, presenting essential details without being in any manner overwhelming or by inundating readers with too much area of study specific scientific jargon and the like, not to mention that Laurence Pringle, although ALWAYS absolutely pro evolution also generally refrains from engaging in any science versus religion debate in any great depth, but simply and with scientific rigour and proof shows why and how evolution is true, why evolution happens and why the theory of evolution is therefore correct (with the handy glossary, suggestions for further study and reading, including online resources, and especially the detailed and organised into books and journal articles bibliography of works cited and used being the absolute and delicious icing on the cake, and indeed totally increasing especially the supplemental research and study value of Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: The Story of Evolution exponentially).

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