CHILDREN’S BOOKS FOR HOME AND
A Brief History of Life on Earth. By Clémece
Dupont. 2019. Prestel. (ISBN 978-3-7913-7373-7).
76 pp. Hardcover. $24.95.
While this looks and feels like a book, A Brief
History of Life on Earth is most certainly not what
you expect from the cover. Within its pages, you
do find a wealth of information; however, in an effort
to help the reader conceptualize history on a grand
scale, the book takes the form of an unfolding timeline of history the length of a triceratops (as it boasts
on the cover). What struck me most about the book,
besides the unique structure, is that it is easily digestible for children as well as beautifully illustrated. A
nice surprise at the very end, when the human portion of the timeline comes into frame, is the diversity
of people on the pages. While it’s not your traditional book, I can see a great many uses for this text,
both with my own children and in the classroom.
Forgotten Beasts: Amazing Creatures That Once
Roamed the Earth. By Matt Sewell. Pavilion. (ISBN
978-1-8436-5393-6). 96 pp. Hardcover. $19.95.
The pages of Forgotten Beasts are full of captivating watercolors of some of our favorite, as well
as some lesser-known, extinct species. When we
think about living things long (or not so long) past,
it seems as though we all have favorites, but as this
book highlights, while dinosaurs are one part of
our planet’s past, there are a great many other
amazing beasts with which we might not be as
familiar. The pages combine brief bits of information with pictures of what we think these creatures
may have looked like. I was impressed to see the
inclusion of Gigantopithecus, Dunkleosteus, and the
woolly mammoth. One of my son’s favorite aspects
of the pictures is the vivid colors used, which the
author highlights, noting that so many of the representations we have seen in the past have been in
shades of brown. This a lovely book for the classroom and for readers young or old.
Little Kids First Big Book of Science. By Kathleen
Weidner Zoehfeld. 2019. National Geographic Kids.
(ISBN 978-1-4263-3318-7). 128 pp. Hardcover.
It is hard to go wrong with a children’s introduction to science that is curated by National Geographic, and this book does not disappoint. It is
quite a bit larger than many books for younger children, but it covers a great range of topics across the
five chapters. I love that this book begins with a talk
about what science is and how it is done. This first
chapter even includes a section on keeping a scientific journal and sharing your findings! Moving from
the general nature of science and a broad touch on
the branches of science, the next three chapters are
field-focused, addressing life science, earth and space
science, and physical sciences, respectively.
Highlighted in the life sciences are short segments on humans and other animal groups, plants,
and how to be a scientist in your own neighborhood. The chapter on earth and space focuses on
everything from climate change to major natural
disasters and weather before moving out of our
atmosphere and into outer space. In the physical
sciences, a great primer on matter and early thinking about waves, forces, and electricity is provided
while also introducing mixtures and solutions.
The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 81, No. 9, pp. 674–676, ISSN 0002-7685, electronic ISSN 1938-4211. © 2019 National Association of Biology Teachers. All rights
reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press’s Reprints and Permissions web page,
https://www.ucpress.edu/journals/reprints-permissions. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2019.81.9.674.
AMANDA L. GLAZE, DEPARTMENT EDITOR