Who Was Charles Darwin?by Deborah Hopkinson, Nancy Harrison (Illustrator)
As a young boy, Charles Darwin hated school and was often scolded forconducting “useless” experiments. Yet his passion for the natural world was so strong that he suffered through terrible seasickness during his five-year voyage aboard The Beagle. Darwin collected new creatures from the coasts of Africa, South America, and the Galapagos Islands, and expanded his groundbreaking ideas that would change people's understanding of the natural world. About 100 illustrations and a clear, exciting text will make Darwin and his theory of evolution an exciting discovery for every young reader.
Sally J. K. Davies
Read an Excerpt
For my wonderful and curious son, Dimitri, who loves to ask questions—just like Charles Darwin—D.H.
To my sisters, for their unwavering belief that anything is possible and always cheering me on—N.H.
Special thanks to Delbert Hutchison, Assistant Professor of Biology, Whitman College, for sharing his enthusiasm about Charles Darwin and making helpful suggestions on the manuscript. Any errors are my own.
Who Was Charles Darwin?
Charles Darwin took a five-year trip around the world on a ship called the Beagle, but he liked staying home best of all. He lived in a small English village where he raised pigeons, played with his children, and puttered in his garden.
Although he lived a quiet life, Charles Darwin started a revolution—a revolution of thought.
People have always wondered how life on Earth began. When Charles Darwin lived, most people in Europe and America believed God created the entire world in six days, just as it says in the Bible. But Charles Darwin was not most people. The Beagle voyage taught him to be a true scientist—to look closely at nature, question everything, and think in a new way about how life on Earth started. He showed how living things could naturally change, or evolve, over a long period of time.
Meet the Author
Deborah Hopkinson's most recent book is the ALA Award-Winning Apples to Oregon. Her other titles include Under the Quilt of NIght (Also illustrated by James E. Ransome) and Fannie in the Kitchen. She lives in Oregon.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Who Was Charles Darwin? by Deborah Hopkinson is a fantastic book that really gets in there and tells a lot of Charles' life growing up and his long travels. It also gives much more detail to his personal life then I have read before. Over 100 pages of great info. Made for middle grades but the whole family will love this book. Borrowed this book for the library.
As a science teacher for elementary school students (5th & 6th grade) I am always interested in finding illustrated, introductory biographies about important thinkers and their contributions to the field of science. Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution are milestones in scientific thought so adding a book about his life and ideas to my science lab library was a real need. Considering the inexpensive price of the book, 'Who Was Charles Darwin' by Deborah Hopkinson is a good, brief introduction to Darwin and evolution. It covers his life in a fairly complete manner. I like how it spends some time describing his childhood strengths, weaknesses, and interests. It points out that Darwin was not quite sure what he wanted to do with his life and that he tried and gave up on a couple of ideas before settling down as a scientist. This is a good life lesson for children who often are not sure what they want to do with themselves. It is okay to try different life paths before finding your true calling. The book points out a number of important science skills, such as questioning, observing, recording, collecting, categorizing, and communicating results. This biography gently mentions, but does not dwell on, the ongoing controversy between science and religion. I found this to be a plus. Young scientists need to know that science is not to be accepted as fact just because it is science. In fact science by its very nature needs to be challenged and tested to prove it merits the title of 'science'. Another positive about this book for young science scholars are the numerous side bars (pages actually) giving slighly deeper explanations on subjects such as 'The Galapagos Islands', 'What is a Species?', 'Fossils', and 'Alfred Russel Wallace'. My only complaints about the book are a couple of factual errors on the maps. One map incorrectly places Tahiti just southeast of New Guinea while another map has us belive that Maya temples exist in the Amazon Basin. Overall, however, a very nice, easy to read, richly illustrated introduction for young scholars to Charles Darwin, his Theory of Evolution, and science in general.