Format: Oversize laminated paperback
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
What did you like about the book? This giant one-sided accordion-fold book, which is ten feet long when unfolded, depicts 4.5 billion years of evolution on a timeline. It is a visual feast of familiar and unfamiliar facts on the formation of the earth and continents, and the evolution of plants, animals and humans. Geological eras and a timeline in varying units of years measure time across the top and bottom edges of the pages, while layers of illustrations show the development of sea and land animals, agriculture and forests. The rise of homo sapiens, domesticated animals and the development of civilization spans only the last quarter of the eight pages, giving perspective to our place in evolutionary history. Realistic color figures dominate the green or blue background (depending on whether it pertains to land, sea or atmosphere). Giant magnifying glasses depict detailed information. I liked the visual nature of the presentation. For instance, a magnifying glass fact explains when the first flowers bloomed. I look up on the page to see that this happened in the Cretaceous period, when the earth’s continents were still forming. I look down to see that this was 120 million years ago. Around the fact I see that dinosaurs roamed the earth. Another favorite fact: “Coffee: After seeing goatherd Kaldi and his flock whooping with excitement after eating coffee berries, a group of tenth-century monks in Ethiopia create a new hot drink to stay awake for all-night prayers.” I notice that this took place in the Holocene period, which was also known as the Medieval warm period, around 200 AD.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Although it would probably make the cost of this item even higher, a glossary of terms on the verso would be helpful.
To whom would you recommend this book? I consider this an additional learning aid, maybe not useful for public libraries. However, having this in the classroom can spur a kid to learn more about the parts of natural history that appeal to them. A curious kid could spend hours pouring over this very visual item.
Who should buy this book? At $50, it may not be affordable for the average school, but I think that the elementary school classroom or library is the perfect place for it.
Where would you shelve it ? I wouldn’t shelve it – I would affix it to the wall, or have it as a resource in a school library. It would have to be stored flat.
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Maybe
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: February 8, 2017