Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth

Overview

An accessible graphic introduction to evolution for the most science-phobic reader

Illustrated by the brilliant duo Kevin Cannon and Zander Cannon, this volume is written by the noted comic author and professor of biology Jay Hosler. Evolution features the same characters introduced in the highly regarded The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA, now here to explain the fundamentals of the evolution of life on earth. On the heels of explaining to his planetary ...

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Overview

An accessible graphic introduction to evolution for the most science-phobic reader

Illustrated by the brilliant duo Kevin Cannon and Zander Cannon, this volume is written by the noted comic author and professor of biology Jay Hosler. Evolution features the same characters introduced in the highly regarded The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA, now here to explain the fundamentals of the evolution of life on earth. On the heels of explaining to his planetary leader the intricacies of human genetics in The Stuff of Life, the intrepid alien scientist Bloort-183 is charged in this sequel with covering the wider story of evolution. Using the same storytelling conceit that Plenty magazine declared “so charming that you won’t even notice you’ve absorbed an entire scientific field” and that caused Seed to pick The Stuff of Life as a best book of 2008, Evolution brilliantly answers Wired’s demand, “What’s the solution to America’s crisis in science education? More comic books!”

Evolution, the most accessible graphic work on this universally studied subject, takes the reader from earth’s primordial soup to the vestigial structures, like the coccyx and the male nipple, of modern humans. Once again, the award-winning illustrations of the Cannons render the complex clear and everything cleverly comedic. And in Hosler, Evolution has an award-winning biology teacher whose science comics have earned him a National Science Foundation grant and an interview on NPR’s Morning Edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Featuring the same amusing characters as those found in Mark Schultz's The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA, Hosler's sequel does for natural selection what its predecessor did for human genetics. The intrepid Glargalian scientist, Bloort 183, has returned and serves as the book's principal narrator. This time he has invited King Floorsh 727 and Prince Floorsh 418 on a tour of the newly opened Glargalian Holographic Museum of Earth Evolution. Hosler (Clan Apis; Sandwalk Adventures) is also a professor of biology and provides readers with much more than a simple graphic primer on evolution. With the Cannons' wonderful illustrations providing a visual anchor, Hosler discusses everything from the atomic to the planetary, from endosymbiosis to mass extinction. The book, like its predecessor, may be too dense with information--for instance, the 54 million years of the Cambrian period is covered in a mere six panels. However, readers should find at the end of their journey through Bloort's Holographic Museum that they've learned a tremendous amount about earth's evolution, and have had more than their fair share of amusement in doing so. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—This book requires a solid background in evolution and cell biology to understand it. Set up as an explanation of life on Earth for an alien race, it is arranged by chapters, with an introduction, an epilogue, a suggested reading list, and a glossary. Hosler knows his subject, but his delivery is definitely academic. The black-and-white illustrations and lettering are easy to follow, but the Cannons seem to have only one set of characters. The same "aliens" that appeared in The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA (Hill and Wang, 2008) are in Evolution, even though this book is by a different author. It should be considered only in schools with strong advanced science programs.—Suanne Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FL
From the Publisher
“It is not often that the books I am asked to review go missing. After hours of searching, I found the errant item, with the spine cracked, in my teenage son's room—an otherwise book-free zone. I can offer no higher recommendation . . . I am not sure why comic books make words like alpha-proteobacteria less daunting, but they do. Every classroom should have this book.” —New Scientist

 

“Written by a nonalien biologist and illustrated by a talented (and nonrelated) duo in cartoon format, this book is funny, fun, and authoritative, and includes talking mitochondria and a charming song-and-dance routine by a male bowerbird seeking to be sexually selected.” —Dolly Setton, Natural History Magazine

 

“The most accessible graphic work on this universally studied subject.” —Ian Paulsen, The Guardian blog

 

“It’s hard to imagine instructional science cartooning better than this.” —Booklist

 

“If you like comics, you’ll like this book.  If you’re interested in evolution, you’ll like it even better.  It’s got a lot of information presented with a lot of fun.  Ideal for high school and college students and teachers, and anyone who wants to enjoy the story of evolution.” —Kevin Padian, President, National Center for Science Education

 

“From obsequious extraterrestrials to s’mores-eating early humans, this serious comic book manages to be fun and entertaining as well as accurate. (Maybe not about ancestral marshmallows, but readers will sort out the humor and snark from the science!) The story of evolution on Earth has rarely been presented in quite so entertaining a manner.” —Eugenie C. Scott, Executive Director, National Center for Science Education

 

“Biology is a dynamic subject and I am always looking for new ways to reach my teenage students. Evolution was an excellent way to reinforce the concepts we cover in class. The graphic novel was written and illustrated in such a way that automatically grabbed the students’ interest. Students learn best when they are having fun in the midst of it. This entertaining and engaging book makes learning enjoyable.” —Bertha Vasquez, biology teacher, G.W. Carver Middle School, Miami, FL

Library Journal
In this delightful follow-up to The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA (by the Cannons and writer Mark Schultz), alien scientist Bloort 183 explains to King Floorsh 727 and his bright, enthusiastic son, Prince Floorsh 418, the evolution of life on the first other planet with intelligent beings to be discovered by the squinches of Glargal: the Earth. In an engaging, accessible, and authoritative manner, Bloort covers Darwin's theory of natural selection, important experiments and fossil discoveries, and the processes of inheritance, adaptation, speciation, and extinction. The squinches hope this research can help them deal with the "heritable disorder" that plagues them. VERDICT Multiple Eisner nominee Hosler (Clan Apis; Sandwalk Adventures) writes with admirable clarity and conciseness, and his genial wit and humor, well matched by the Cannons' versatile cartooning, make this science lesson highly enjoyable. Sexual reproduction is dealt with in an entirely nonexplicit fashion (though the monarchs of the squinches—intelligent, asexually reproducing echinoderms—still react to the idea with an "ewwww"). A sterling example of the educational potential of comics; strongly recommended for ages ten and up.—S.R.
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—This book requires a solid background in evolution and cell biology to understand it. Set up as an explanation of life on Earth for an alien race, it is arranged by chapters, with an introduction, an epilogue, a suggested reading list, and a glossary. Hosler knows his subject, but his delivery is definitely academic. The black-and-white illustrations and lettering are easy to follow, but the Cannons seem to have only one set of characters. The same "aliens" that appeared in The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA (Hill and Wang, 2008) are in Evolution, even though this book is by a different author. It should be considered only in schools with strong advanced science programs.—Suanne Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FL
Kirkus Reviews

A graphic introduction to evolution, full of cheerfully silly but educational digressions.

Repeating the conceit of their The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA (2009), Hosler (Biology/Juniata Coll.) and the Cannons reintroduce their alien professor, Bloort 183, who delivers an illustrated lecture on the inhabitants of the bizarre, newly discovered planet Earth, which contains the first life known to exist outside the professor's own world, Glargal. The occasion is an exclusive, pre-opening royal tour of the Glargalian Holographic Museum of Earth Evolution. His audience, King Floorsh 727 and a precocious son, do their pedagogical duty by interjecting appropriate questions. Notwithstanding the comic-book format, Hosler does not dumb down his subject but provides a precise overview of evolution beginning with the cooling of the primordial Earth, the origin of life and the rise of single and multicellular organisms down through geological eras. A comical biography of Charles Darwin leads into an accurate description of the mechanism of natural selection—random variation within a species with survival of advantageous traits—and the text proceeds smoothly to the origin of species, sexual selection, evolutionary constraints, vestigial organs and extinction. Despite the advertising and imaginative, droll illustrations, the book may not win over science-phobic readers, but it's a solid introduction.

An accessible, nuts-and-bolts explanation of evolution for adults who want a refresher and high-school teachers searching for a simple primer.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809094769
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 1/4/2011
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Jay Hosler is a professor of biology at Juniata College and the author/illustrator of two graphic novels and several science cartoons. Kevin Cannon and Zander Cannon, illustrators of numerous graphic novels and comic books, live in Minneapolis.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2012

    my son likes to learn about these kinds of things!

    my son likes to learn about these kinds of things!

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    Posted February 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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