cover image LIFE ON EARTH: The Story of Evolution

LIFE ON EARTH: The Story of Evolution

Steve Jenkins, . . Houghton, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-618-16476-9

Grabbing the audience's attention with stunning cut- and torn-paper collage illustrations, Jenkins (The Top of the World) illuminates another corner of the science world in this cogent introduction to evolution. Here, he traces the planet's history from its fiery beginnings billions of years ago through the emergence of the first bacteria, development of such organisms as jellyfish, ferns, dinosaurs, mammals and birds, on up to humans. Posing and answering questions ("Why have so many different forms of life developed on the earth?"), Jenkins ably presents such concepts as mutation, extinction and Darwin's theory of "survival of the fittest." The information spans an impressive range; Jenkins organizes and presents it with a clarity that demonstrates his mindfulness of the audience. Spacious white backdrops allow the vigorously lifelike collage images to spring to the fore. Bright-eyed frogs appear ready to jump off the pages; a shark swims menacingly toward readers; a wooly mammoth looks soft enough to pet. Science at its most inviting. Ages 6-10. (Oct.)