What Mr Darwin Saw

What Mr Darwin Saw

by Mick Manning, Brita Granstrom
     
 

In 1831, at only 22 years old, Darwin was offered the position of Naturalist on HMS Beagle's world voyage. He was set to become a clergyman but returns after five years at sea an inspired genius. This book follows the journey of HMS Beagle, showing life on-board the ship for Darwin, the captain, crew and the expedition's artist. The reader sees Darwin discovering

Overview

In 1831, at only 22 years old, Darwin was offered the position of Naturalist on HMS Beagle's world voyage. He was set to become a clergyman but returns after five years at sea an inspired genius. This book follows the journey of HMS Beagle, showing life on-board the ship for Darwin, the captain, crew and the expedition's artist. The reader sees Darwin discovering and observing insect life in Brazil, fossils in Argentina , earthquakes in Chile and turtles in the Galapagos Islands. The reader is therefore able to follow the steps which led to Darwin's inspired theory of evolution, while also showing the adventures and escapades he had during the voyage.A fascinating and colourful story of Darwin's life, this book also introduces young readers to one of the world's most important scientists and his discoveries. It concludes with a simple explanation of the theory of evolution. Written by an outstanding team in the field of children's non-fiction, this is a book to enlighten and inspire young readers.

To watch a video describing Darwin's theory of evolution click here

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Della A. Yannuzzi
The authors give this biography of scientist/naturalist Charles Darwin a personal quality by recounting the tale in his (first person) voice. The book begins with Darwin recounting his birth date, family history, and education. The reader learns that Darwin liked to collect things, but his father told him there was no future in doing that and sent him to Edinburgh University to become a doctor. Darwin dropped out of that career and went to Cambridge, where he enjoyed science and began collecting beetles. His interests in science led him to take a trip on board the HMS Beagle, which was traveling to South America. It was on this trip that Darwin was able to wander around the Brazilian rainforest, study the vegetation and wildlife, and collect specimens to bring home. He also traveled to the Andes, where he found shells once on the bottom of the sea and now nearly 14,000 feet above its level. He also traveled to the Galapagos Islands where he studied lizards, birds, and giant tortoises. He traveled to many places and came back to England with collections of natural materials. Darwin had many questions, ideas, and notes about the beginnings of life on earth. He wrote a book called On the Origin of Species that explained his theory of evolution by natural selection. His ideas were fascinating but many scientific and religious people did not agree with them. It was not easy listening to the criticism, but Darwin remained true to his theory. Still, he said, "Publishing my theory felt like confessing a murder!" There are many sidebars which function as part of the text and, at times, interrupt the flow of the story. This may prove distracting for some readers. Illustrations are bold andrealistic. Manning and Granstrom have written and illustrated a handsome book for those older readers who will not mind taking the time to savor and study all of the information that is presented. Reviewer: Della A. Yannuzzi
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6

A somewhat bug-eyed Darwin tells the story of his journey on the Beagle and the development of his theory of evolution. Journal entries make good use of quotations from his own writing, while captioned insets add information on the people, animals, places, and ideas he encountered on the historic trip. The authors make it clear that Darwin was aware of the controversial nature of his theory, quoting, "Publishing my theory felt like confessing a murder." Cartoon illustrations in pencil and watercolor aim for the gross and startling aspects of the adventure: blood spewing from a screaming man having his leg amputated without anesthetic, a seasick Darwin vomiting over the side of the Beagle , or spitting a beetle out of his mouth. In a crowded field of picture-book biographies, this title is not as strong as Kathryn Lasky's One Beetle Too Many (Candlewick), Rosalyn Schanzer's What Darwin Saw (National Geographic), or Alice B. McGinty's Darwin (Houghton, all 2009).-Ellen Heath, Easton Area Public Library, Easton, PA

Kirkus Reviews
Joining the spate of biographies issued to mark the bicentenary of Darwin's birth, this covers the great scientist's career in snapshots. It opens with scenes of him gunning down birds and catching rats as a feckless youth and closes with a view of the white-bearded sage delivering a simple explanation of natural selection on a chalkboard-style spread. In between, readers follow him from the famous incident with the three new kinds of beetles (one in each hand, the third-briefly-in his mouth) to stops and discoveries during his long voyage aboard the Beagle and the furor following the publication of his magnum opus. They will get some sense of both Darwin's character and the significant observations of nature in action that he recorded. The authors convey all of this in a mix of first- and third-person captions matched to watercolors that are freely drawn but detailed enough to show, for instance, telling differences in the beaks of Galapagos finches. At the opposite end of the accessibility scale from Peter S's's hyper-ornate Tree of Life (2003), this will provide younger readers with an accurate, if sketchy, introduction to Darwin's big ideas. (Picture book/biography. 7-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781845079703
Publisher:
Frances Lincoln Children's Books
Publication date:
03/01/2009
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Mick Manning grew up in Haworth, West Yorkshire, and studied Illustration at the Royal College of Art in London. He has written and illustrated over 60 books, mostly with his partner Brita Granstrom. Their distinctive books have won many awards. Their first book, The World is Full of Babies, won the Smarties Silver Prize in 1996. Their other books with Frances Lincoln include the critically acclaimed Fly on the Wall series: Roman Fort, Pharaoh's Egypt, Viking Longship, Greek Hero, Tail-End Charlie and What Mr Darwin Saw. Both Roman Fort and Viking Longship were shortlisted for the English Association 4-11 Awards and Greek Hero won in 2008. Snap! is the follow-up to Yuck! which was a regional winner of the Highland Book Awards 2006. Recently Mick and Brita donated the entire body of work created for their book Fly on the Wall: Greek Hero to Seven Stories, the center for children's books Mick and Brita live in the Scottish Borders and have four sons.

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