Charles Darwin's Around-the-World Adventure: Jennifer Thermes
December 29, 2016
Book: Charles Darwin's Around the World Adventure
Author: Jennifer Thermes
Age Range: 5-8
Charles Darwin's Around the World Adventure by Jennifer Thermes is a nonfiction picture book focused on a five-year voyage that Charles Darwin took as a young man that strongly influenced his scientific discoveries. Charles, chosen to be the naturalist aboard a ship mapping measurements of South America in 1831, writes about his wondrous findings and collects various natural specimens. The book describes some of Charles' key discoveries at various points along his voyage, while rendering Charles as a real, accessible person to young readers. We learn about Charles' sea-sickness, for example, and how he felt when he experienced his first earthquake.
Here's a snippet, to give you a feel for Thermes' writing:
"Charles dug up bones of ancient sloth-like creatures, including a giant Megatherium, buried on the beach. How many of these huge creatures once roamed the earth? Why had they disappeared?
He studied the rocks and tried to figure out how steep cliffs and flat plains were formed. Was it possible that the shape of the land affected the animals' survival?"
Thermes' illustrations are detailed, with labeled maps interspersed between images of Charles and his experiences. A map on the book's end pages shows Charles' journey as a whole, with an accompanying timeline. Although the main text is fairly detailed in and of itself, there are also end notes, sources, fun facts, and recommendations for further reading. There is a LOT here to keep an interested elementary-schooler reading and studying. My six-year-old was utterly engaged in Charles' story, though we did not pore over map in detail.
Charles Darwin's Around the World Adventure is top-quality narrative non-fiction, featuring a likable historical figure, interesting plant and animal facts, and well-mapped journey. This is a book that belongs in libraries and classrooms severing first through third graders, everywhere. Highly recommended!
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (@AbramsKids)
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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