Review: The Story of Life by Catherine Barr

The Story of Life by Catherine Barr

The Story of Life: a First Book about Evolution by Catherine Barr and Steve Williams, illustrated by Amy Husband (InfoSoup)

Starting before there was life on earth, this nonfiction picture book takes readers on a journey from 4.5 billion years ago to today. Volcanoes and black ocean water with some areas that were warm from underwater volcanoes created the tiny bits that formed the basis of life. Cells started growing, some using sunlight, water and oxygen that changed the very earth itself. Over millions of years, cells developed into different forms of life and became the first animals. The seas became full of life and animals and plants started to expand to the land. Then an unknown disaster hit and most of the life on earth was destroyed. It became cold and dark, giving a chance for huge dinosaurs to emerge and take over. Millions of years passed again and insects and mammals appeared. A meteor hit the world though, and then it was time for the mammals to survive. Humans evolved from those mammals and spread across the world, bringing us to the present day.

This basic look at evolution offers a sense of the length of time that it has taken to get us from basic cells to humans today. On each two-page spread there is information on how long ago this scene was taking place. The text on the page has lots of information on the changes happening, the progress towards new life, and also the series of disasters that has caused sudden death on the planet. This is a fascinating look at evolution that is appropriate for even preschool children to begin to understand the science that created life on earth.

The illustrations by Husband are playful and fun. They add a lighthearted touch to the serious scientific information. At the same time, they are have scientific labels for important objects and ideas that let children better understand the progress of evolution that they are learning about.

A strong picture book that explores evolution and will inspire children to learn even more about prehistoric times. Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

This Week’s Tweets, Pins & Tumbls

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts this week that I think are cool:

True... old friends...: True... old friends...


Baby Cries When Mom, Dad Reach Last Page of Books #kidlit

Books about Creating Art:

“Did you have to dumb it down?” by Lauren DeStefano | Nerdy Book Club #kidlit

Eric Litwin and Tom Lichtenheld Ink Three-Book Deal With Scholastic | GalleyCat #kidlit

Four NYC Publishers, One Epic Season: Rocco Staino’s Peek at Upcoming Fall Titles | School Library Journal #kidlit

RH Children’s Buys Self-Pubbed Phenom ‘Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep’ #kidlit

Why are all the moms gone? A parent/writer tries to find herself in children’s literature #kidlit

Why children’s authors shouldn’t always ‘kill the parents’ | Children’s books | The Guardian #kidlit

Why Diversity of Experience, Race and Gender Norms in Children’s Books Matters #kidlit

.: .


Denver Library brews a month of craft beer, coffee and tea events – The Denver Post #libraries

The public library in an Internet age: a series from Michigan Radio | Michigan Radio


Why Melvin Burgess’s ‘dangerous’ books aren’t dangerous at all | Children’s books | The Guardian #yalit

for the love of books: for the love of books