Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Galápagos George by Jean Craighead George, paintings by Wendell Minor
Lonesome George's ancient ancestor was Giantess George, a desert dweller in South America until she was washed away in storms and floods to an island called San Cristóbal. She found a new home there and began to adapt to her surroundings.
Over the centuries, descendants of Giantess George found other islands to live on and began to adapt to their new homes. But, after millions of years of adapting, reproducing and surviving, mankind discovered their homes on the Galápagos Islands, including Charles Darwin.
Once man arrived, it didn't take long before the natural habitat of these giant tortoises began to disappear and slowly so did the different tortoises on the different islands, until only one, Lonesome George, was left. He was moved to the safety of a research station on Pinta Island, and the search for a mate began. But not mate could be found and when Lonesome George died, it was the end of Giantess George's family line.
Galápagos George is an interesting if simplistic book that uses the giant tortoises of the Galápagos Islands to demonstrate the concept of evolution (poorly defined in the Glossary), adaptation and survival and extinction. The language is not very scientific and will sound more like a story and less like a nonfiction picture book. Which is good, since it will probably appeal to young readers, who will no doubt, be captivated by it.
The watercolor paintings by Wendell Minor are absolutely exquisite. Close up, detailed portraits of the tortoises really showcases these beautiful creatures, and other more panoramic illustrations give a sense of time and place.
Galápagos George is a wonderful addition to any child's library, and who knows, it just may spark a life-long interest in nature similar to that of Jean Craighead George. A final note tells us the Lonesome George and Jean Craighead George passed away within weeks of each other. Sadly, the world certainly lost two very unique individuals who had interesting stories to tell us. But as Jean George reminds us at the end of Galápagos George: "there will always be 'new and unimaginable things that can happen.' And they do. All the time."
This book is recommended for readers age 6+
This book was borrowed from a friend
This is book 4 of my 2014 Nonfiction Picture Book Reading Challenge hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy