According to guest reviewer Debbie Glade, Charles Darwin and the Beagle Adventure (Templar Books, an imprint of Candlewick, $19.99; ages 8-12), written by A.J. Wood and Clint Twist, “is the highest quality, most inviting, most creative, most entertaining, most sophisticated and most informative children’s science book I have ever read. There, I said it.”
Debbie Glade is the author, illustrator and voice talent of the award-winning children’s picture book The Travel Adventures of Lilly P Badilly: Costa Rica, published by Smart Poodle Publishing. She visits South Florida schools with her reading, writing and geography programs. For years, Debbie was a travel writer for luxury cruise lines. She writes parenting articles for various websites and is the Geography Awareness Editor for WanderingEducators.com. She blogs daily at smartpoodlepublishing.com.
As soon as I took one look at the unique cover, I knew this was a special book. The pages are accessed by opening the flaps of a sturdy, magnetic cardboard cover. What lies inside is a visual wonderland of flaps to flip and envelopes to open, revealing letters, illustrations, maps, photos and scientific information regarding Darwin’s findings aboard the HMS Beagle. You will actually feel as though you are reading Darwin’s diary from the famed voyage of 1831 to 1836. The pages were even printed to look as though they were hand sewn to the binding! (FYI – This book is one of three historical notebooks from Templar Books, all of which I’d love to read.)
This is not a book for you or your child to rush through; rather you will want to curl up on the couch and take your time reading and discovering. You don’t want to miss a thing. Open the inside cover to pull Darwin’s family tree out of an envelope. Then continue on to read about the experiences that led Darwin to a life of scientific exploration and discovery. View a map of the track the HMS Beagle took, read a letter from Darwin to his father about his decision to take the voyage and then soak in all the flora and fauna as seen by the great naturalist himself. And of course, learn about Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Did you know that the HMS Beagle’s departure was delayed numerous times before setting sail? Or that there were 74 people on board the not-so-large ship? And that Darwin experienced severe seasickness? Or that Darwin was a very religious man? You will learn about these facts as well as details about Darwin’s tracking of plant and animal species and how he collected specimens in South America, around Cape Horn and on his voyage back to England.
Reading Charles Darwin and the Beagle Adventure is as close as you can get to actually being on Darwin’s voyage of 1831-1836. This book is indeed a lifetime keeper.