February 12th is Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday. Mark the occasion by reading Animals Charles Darwin Saw, a picture book that is part of the Explorers Adventure Series by Chronicle Books.
The book is intended for children ages 7 to 12, but younger children might need help with some of the advanced vocabulary. Teachers and librarians will want to add this book to their collection since it clearly explains the history of Darwin’s voyage to the Galapagos, the animals he saw on the trip, and how he developed the Theory of Evolution.
Students will be using the Animals Charles Darwin Saw as a reference book for reports on Darwin for years to come since it explains both the history of Darwin’s life as well as concepts like evolution, transmutation of species, and natural selection.
Adults and children will enjoy the illustrations and the many interesting and quirky trivia tidbits about Darwin’s life. We all know about the famous finches Darwin studied, but did you know that Darwin spent years documenting different types of barnacles or that he popped a live beetle in his mouth? The Animals Charles Darwin Saw has a great anecdote on Darwin’s beatle collecting habits that will amuse kids who are both afraid of and fascinated by insects. One day, Darwin saw two rare beetles and captured one in each hand. But then he saw a third and new kind, so he popped the live beatle he held in his right hand into his. mouth. But it was a Bombardier beetle, so it ejected acid into Darwin’s mouth and burnt his tongue before escaping when he spit it out.
I read the Animals Charles Darwin Saw with my 9 year old cousin, and she couldn’t wait to look up the animals and insects mentioned in Google to read more about them. I highly recommend this book to parents and teachers looking for a good children’s book about Charles Darwin.