today’s children storybook summary is
Our Family Tree, An Evolution Story
By Lisa Westberg Peters
Illustrated by Lauren Stringer
Storyline: This book tells the story of the making of mankind through a biological point of view. It is, therefore, as the title say, an evolutionary tale. So be warn that creationism, as a religious perspective, is nowhere to find in this book.
The author starts by placing humans as part of a very large and very old family, with deep roots in time. But, from the first page, she tells us very clearly that we have changed very much from that original beginning.
At first, the author says, not only we didn’t look like people at all, but we were so small that we were almost invisible. However, she points out, we had the same kind of genetic code as we have today. On the outside we were a cell floating on the sea, but on the inside, we had almost everything we have now.
During the transformation that had happened over millennia, going from a cell to a plant, to an animal, reptiles, apes and humans, we have changed our appearance quite a bit, but the biological structure had stayed mostly the same, just improved with time.
The writer describes the journey of human kind by pointing out these two outcomes: on the outside, or how we look, and on the inside, or our genetic code. Here are some examples: on the outside we had scales, and on the inside we had spiny backbones she said of the fish faze of evolution; or on the outside we walk upright, and on the inside we grew larger brains when we became homo sapiens, she says.
This theme, outside/inside is a powerful method of telling the story of mankind in evolutionary steps.
At the end of the book, in few lines, we find a summary of the story, page by page, or step by step, from a “tiny round cell, on a deep, dark sea” to the humans we are today. These lines are meant complement the book by adding scientific facts about each of the evolutionary steps. A timeline of “our family tree” follows, further supplementing the story.
Characters: no characters
Illustration: The graphics of this book are simple yet compelling. It starts with a family on a beach… They are picking shells on the sand when father finds an object, perhaps it is an old wooden stick, washed ashore by the waves. Then he gathers around the kids, a boy and a girl, and starts drawing in the sand the story inside the book.
The illustration takes over the pages with the text centered, nested inside each of them. The story they tell balances the written words with abundant and luxuriant details, and deep, rich colors. Also, the depictions are pretty accurate to the scientific facts of evolution. As a matter of fact, both the illustrator and the writer, have put hours of research on this subject.
Recommended Age: 6 to 9
Reading Time: 5 to 7 min
Since you read until the end, please take a second and rate this book. Thank you.
(p.s. you can also subscribe to new posts in the upper right corner 🙂