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Cover image for What Darwin saw : the journey that changed the world
What Darwin saw : the journey that changed the world
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : National Geographic, c2009.
Physical Description:
47 p. : col. ill., col. maps ; 29 cm.
Reading Level:
NC 1020 L Lexile
Conference Subject:
The story of Charles Darwin's voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle, told in a combination of his own words and the author's illustrations.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 921 DARWIN 1 1
Book J 921 DARWIN 0 1

On Order



In 1831 a 22-year-old naturalist named Charles Darwin stepped aboard the HMS Beagle as a traveling companion of an equally youthful sea captain called Robert FitzRoy. The Beagle's round-the-world surveying journey lasted five long years on the high seas. The young Darwin noticed everything, and proved himself an avid and detailed chronicler of daily events on the Beagle and onshore. What Darwin Saw takes young readers back to the pages of his journals as they travel alongside Darwin and read his lively and awestruck words about the wonders of the world.

We follow Darwin's voyage, looking over his shoulder as he explores new lands, asks questions about the natural world, and draws groundbreaking conclusions. We walk in his footsteps, collecting animals and fossils, experiencing earthquakes and volcanoes, and meeting people of many cultures and languages. We examine his opinions on life in all its forms. We consider the thoughts of this remarkable scientist, who poured his observations and research into his expansive theories about life on Earth. In this exciting and educational account, Charles Darwin comes alive as an inspirational model for kids who think and question the world around them.

Author Notes

Charles Robert Darwin, born in 1809, was an English naturalist who founded the theory of Darwinism, the belief in evolution as determined by natural selection. Although Darwin studied medicine at Edinburgh University, and then studied at Cambridge University to become a minister, he had been interested in natural history all his life. His grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, was a noted English poet, physician, and botanist who was interested in evolutionary development.

Darwin's works have had an incalculable effect on all aspects of the modern thought. Darwin's most famous and influential work, On the Origin of Species, provoked immediate controversy.

Darwin's other books include Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle, The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.

Charles Darwin died in 1882.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-Among the new picture books about Darwin being published for his bicentennial birthday, this one stands up well. On the cover, a wide-eyed, handsome Charley Darwin peers through lush greenery at the top, and an equally wide-eyed and handsome monkey ignores him at the bottom. Inside, Schanzer uses Darwin's own words, taken from his journals, books, and letters, in the speech balloons of her graphic depiction of the voyage of the Beagle. This is not a full biography, but begins with Darwin's acceptance of the offer to sail on the expedition and ends with the presentation of his theory of evolution in 1860. Bright, watercolor cartoons accurately portray landscapes and specimens while also creating a vivid sense of adventure. Schanzer's dedication is to her rabbi grandfather, who served as an advisor to Clarence Darrow at the Scopes trial, but in this book for young children, the controversies that surround Darwin's theory are not presented. Similar to Kathryn Lasky's One Beetle Too Many (Candlewick), this title pairs up nicely with Alice McGinty's Darwin (Houghton, both 2009) to give young readers a picture of the man and his adventures.-Ellen Heath, Easton Area Public Library, Easton, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

Schanzer uses a cartoon-panel format to good effect in this picture book, drawing readers into Darwin's famous voyage and groundbreaking discoveries. Well-chosen quotes from Darwin's books, journals, and letters are set in a different font to distinguish them from Schanzer's explanatory paragraphs. Colorful acrylic illustrations depict the animals and people that Darwin encountered and help to explain his theory of natural selection. Bib., ind. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Fully illustrated with many colorful panels on each page, this large-format book introduces the life of Charles Darwin, beginning with his childhood and concentrating on his experiences during the voyage of the HMS Beagle, with some follow-up on his later life, especially the publication and response to the On the Origin of Species. Three different colors of print differentiate between quoted words (Darwin's in brown; others' in orange) and narrative text (in black). Though the pages have a young look, due in part to the naive style of the acrylic paintings, there's plenty of information for older readers to absorb. The presentation ends with a double-page map showing the Beagle's route and stops along the way. A source bibliography is appended, along with comments on the research, writing, and illustrations as well as a source note directing readers to an impressively meticulous Internet site where the quoted passages appear with changes (mainly abridgements) clearly indicated.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2009 Booklist

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