cover image Galápagos George

Galápagos George

Jean Craighead George, illus. by Wendell Minor. Harper, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-028793-1

In a posthumously published story from award-winning author George, the author personalizes an evolutionary tale by spotlighting one species, the saddleback tortoises of Pinta Island. Beginning with a common ancestor, referred to as Giantess George, that originated in South America, the story traces the species’ arrival in the Galápagos and relates some of the islands’ history, including a visit from Charles Darwin. The book culminates with the death of the last of the Pinta Island saddlebacks, known as Lonesome George, which died within weeks of the author in 2012. Minor’s signature soft-edged watercolors fill the spreads with realism and muted hues. One particularly stunning scene brings readers face-to-face with Giantess George, a turquoise, star-filled sky in the background: “When she was almost two hundred years old, Giantess George died. But she left behind long-necked offspring who had longer-necked offspring, who had even longer-necked offspring.” Skillfully capturing the concept of adaptation in natural selection, this succinct story continues its creators’ tradition of inspiring awe and appreciation for the natural world. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)