Out of the Blue: How Animals Evolved from Prehistoric Seas by Elizabeth Shreeve, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon

Out of the Blue: How Animals Evolved from Prehistoric Seas by Elizabeth Shreeve, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon. Candlewick Press, 9781536214109, 2021

Format: Hardcover, 32 pages

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre:  Nonfiction, Biology

What did you like about the book? Engaging and informative, this title depicts the evolutionary transition of life from the single-celled organisms of the seas to multi-cellular motile beings that inhabit our earth.  Going by the era that introduced the single-celled organism, the book uses colorful computer-generated illustrations to bring long gone species to life on its pages.  Each page introduces the reader to an evolutionary timeline complete with illustrations of creatures that inhabited our world during that age.  Each creature depicted is shown with their name and a brief description of the organism.  Easy to read with plenty of white space and large font, this title could easily be used as a resource for older struggling readers or students whose native language is not English.  Comparisons of species in the text with humans and other familiar information help to illustrate the scale of some of these ancient creatures.  The last page contains excellent resources for further reading.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  It might have been beneficial to have a phonetic breakdown of some of the species for this young age group.

To whom would you recommend this book? Readers in grades 4 and up who enjoy biology and evolutionary text would enjoy this title. 

Who should buy this book? This would be a good purchase for intermediate or middle school libraries whose curriculum includes evolution or adaptation or public libraries that need nonfiction books on evolution.  

Where would you shelve it? Nonfiction, Biology

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  I feel that this title would reside near the top of the “to read” pile.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Elena Schuck, Nathaniel H. Wixon School Library, Dennis, Massachusetts

Date of review: May 27, 2021

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