"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Friday, July 5, 2013

Island: a Story of the Galapagos

Island: a Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin, 2012.

This beautiful book shows the origin, evolution and demise of an imagined island in the Galapagos. It starts from a volcanic eruption and life arrives in the forms of a mangrove tree, seabirds and marine iguanas. As time passes, more wildlife journey to the island and gradually evolve until they are best suited to survive there. Finches develop larger beaks so that they can crack open big seeds and survive droughts. Tortoise's shells change shape to help them keep cool.  Eventually, after the island has existed for six million years, it begins to sink, loses its life and disappears under the ocean, but new islands continue to emerge. Additional material mentions Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution, further information about the Galapagos and the endemic (that exist nowhere else) species there. An example is the marine iguana:

From Flickr commons

Every time I read one of these outstanding natural history and science books for young people, I wonder why when I was a kid we had dry textbooks in class instead of fun books like these. They just amaze me now, because they get me so interested in their topics. Island  does this in part through its wonderful illustrations. Beginning with the endpapers, which show the species and a map of the Galapagos, Chin captures the reader's attention.The pages are jammed full of blue ocean, exploding volcanoes and unusual wildlife. In the epilogue, Chin has snuck in scenes of Charles Darwin and his Beagle coming to explore another island in 1835. Everyone will enjoy this educational and exciting title.

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