Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution

Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution

Heather Adamson
Illustrator:  Gordon Purcell , Al Milgrom 
Nonfiction Graphic Novel  Series
For ages 7 to 9
Capstone Press, 2007   ISBN: 978-1429601450

Charles Darwin was fortunate enough to be born into a wealthy family. He didn’t want for anything and was able to spend plenty of time pursuing his own interests. His greatest pleasure was to study the world of nature. He was fascinated by plants and insects and he did not care when other people laughed at him for having such an odd hobby.

Though Charles’ father was not in favor of his interest in zoology and botany, Charles refused to give up his studies. At Cambridge he was supposed to be studying medicine – his father wanted him to become a doctor – but Charles kept on doing what he could to learn about the natural world. A naturalist and professor, George Henslow, was very supportive of what Charles wanted to do and arranged for Charles to be chosen to go on a scientific expedition around the world. It took some work to persuade Charles’ father to agree to the plan, but in the end he decided to let Charles travel on the HMS Beagle.

The Beagle’s journey would last five years and during this time Charles had to get used to living in very confined spaces, being sea sick, and many other trials. The ship stopped in all kinds of places and in each place Charles collected biological specimens, made drawings, and took notes. His findings on the island of Galapagos were particularly interesting and when he got back to England he began to wonder about what he had seen.

After talking with other men in his field Charles began to write down what he had discovered and in his writings he put forward the idea that animals had evolved over time, changing over many years so that they would be better suited to their environment. He expanded his theory to suggest that “natural selection” was the driving force behind the changes of “evolution.”

Darwin’s theory and the book that he wrote about it caused a big upheaval in the scientific community of his time. It also infuriated men in the clergy and religious people who insisted that God had created all the animals in the world as they are seen today. They felt that the theory of evolution threatened the creation story. For the rest of his life Darwin worked on trying to find more evidence for his theory.

This book will give young readers an excellent introduction to the work and life of Charles Darwin. They will get a real sense of how important his work was, and how much it has affected the study of the natural world since Darwin’s time. This book’s comic book style format will especially appeal to readers who prefer illustration rich titles.

This is one of the titles in the “Graphic Library” series.