Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Young Charles Darwin and the Voyage of the Beagle

Young Charles Darwin and the Voyage of the Beagle

Ruth Ashby
For ages 8 to 12
Peachtree Publishers, 2009   ISBN: 1561454788

When Charles Darwin was a boy, he had very little interest in learning Latin and Ancient Greek. He much preferred rambling around the countryside observing nature and collecting beetles. Nothing he chose to do pleased his father, who thought that Charles could well become a “disgrace” to the family.

Charles did not know what he wanted to do with himself when he grew up, so he agreed to go to Edinburgh with his brother Erasmus when Erasmus when to the university there to study medicine. Becoming a doctor sounded like a good idea until Charles realized that he found the whole thing enormously distasteful. He then agreed to go to Cambridge University to prepare himself for a career in the clergy. The plan was that he would have one last hurrah before settling down; he would go on a trip somewhere to see the world a little.

One of Charles’ friends heard about a ship that was taking a trip around the world. He suggested that Charles join the expedition, which Charles eagerly agreed to do. The journey on the HMS Beagle not only changed the direction that Charles’ life took, but it also made him one of the most famous people in the world.

This excellent biography shows readers that greatness can lie in the hearts and minds of even the most unlikely of people. The author helps her readers to see how Charles Darwin’s ideas developed over time, and how he came to develop a theory that that would, for years to come, cause a great deal of controversy.