Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Darwin Novel and Graphic Novel

This is a shameless cut-and-pasted review (with minor edits) from my update to the Living Science group :)

Very well-written story in the first person. It gave me a very engrossing peek into Darwin's early life, how he grew up (collecting beetles, hating school, being lovingly bossed about by his sisters, being more than a tad afraid of his grim but affectionate dad, adoring the company of his elder brother, Ras).

If you have a squeamish youngster though (squeamish about romance and animals being hunted and shot), you may want to wait a while before introducing it as a free read or read aloud.

The novel stretches from Darwin's early childhood to his wedding. Depending on your child's maturity level, I would suggest introducing it at about age 9 onwards. (There is a little kissing and description of love-induced nervousness/palpitations etc -- I'm highlighting this just in case you have a kid who gets grossed out like DS currently is LOL).

We also read:
Char les Darwin and the Theory of Evolution by Heather Adamson

It's part of the Graphic Library collection of scientist/inventor biographies. Not much in terms of in depth information or lesser known vignettes of Darwin's life (it is after all a pretty short, 32-page graphic novel).

However, IMO it is quite comprehensive enough as an early intro to Darwin and might suit a reading-resistant upper elementary child. Or read aloud to a younger child. In the tradition of most Capstone Press books, there are useful notes at the end, related links and suggestions for further reading.


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