Book review: Grandmother Fish, by Jonathan Tweet, illustrated by Karen Lewis

Tweet, Jonathan. Grandmother Fish: a Child’s First Book of Evolution. Illustrated by Karen Lewis.  Fiewel and Friends, 2016. Unpaged. $17.99. ISBN 9781250113238. Ages 3-5. P6Q6

tweet-grandmother-fishWritten for an early preschool audience , this book on selective evolution strives to make Darwin’s theory of common descent understandable. Appealing illustrations link the steps from fish to reptile to mammal to human in an extremely simplified chain.  Questions such as “Can you wriggle?” or, “Can you breathe?” and pages asking readers to “find grandmother” make this a good storytime presentation.  End matter includes an author’s note to parents and teachers, a page explaining concepts of evolution, a two-page guide to the grandmothers, and a page correcting common errors concerning evolution.  Unfortunately, I found the book’s presentation too simple to explain the concept and the text to be somewhat didactic. Entirely missing was any attempt to present the concept of small changes leading to larger changes.  I really value science books that explain basic concepts for younger children and wish that this one had included a bit more of the scientific content or was appropriate for a slightly older audience.

Verdict: Optional purchase for elementary and public libraries.

February 2017 review by Jane Cothron.

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