Charles Darwin's Around-the-World Adventure

illus. by Jennifer Thermes. 48p. bibliog. chron. further reading. maps. Abrams. Oct. 2016. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781419721205.
K-Gr 3—Thermes traces the route of the 1831 voyage of the HMS Beagle in this picture book biography of Charles Darwin. The focus of the story is on Darwin's wonder and delight as he observed and collected animals, plants, stones, and fossils on his five-year journey around the world. The endpapers feature maps of the departure and return (details of which will be obscured by the book jacket covers used in many libraries). Friendly watercolor and pencil illustrations portray the creatures and objects that fascinated Darwin. However, the art does not always line up with the text. In one spread, a tiny Darwin is highlighted on the deck of the HMS Beagle, yet a page turn shows him under a tree in the rain forest. (A few pages later, we learn that he was seasick and "happy to stay on land and explore.") In another spread, a dramatic moment in which his small boat is almost capsized by a calving glacier is paired with a map of the crew's route around Tierra del Fuego. Young readers unfamiliar with the naturalist's work may be puzzled by the ending: "And what he wrote would change the world forever." Back matter has a brief explanation of evolution.
VERDICT An additional purchase for elementary school science collections.

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