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Reviewed by Lois J Wickstrom for Readers' Favorite
Charles Darwin and the Theory of Natural Selection by Alan J. Hesse is a graphic history or comic book version of how and why Charles Darwin, a devoutly religious man, came up with his theory of how physical and behavioral traits change over time and are affected by the environment. Hesse has chosen to show some of Charles Darwin’s experiments, like turning tortoises over and seeing if they can turn themselves right side up. Some can and some can’t. He also drew a picture of Charles Darwin trying to ride on the back of a 200lb tortoise that threw him off like a bucking bronco. Alan J. Hesse not only wrote this informative book, but he also drew the artwork.
Usually, Charles Darwin is pictured as a serious old man. I enjoyed seeing these pictures of him as a playful young man. He tossed lizards he found on the shore into the ocean to see what they’d do. Spoiler alert: they came back up on land. He played with tortoises. He measured rocks. He forgot to write down the locations of all of his experiments but, fortunately, his cabin boy did. Hesse has made excellent use of his informal style to explain Darwin’s controversial theory to young readers. Darwin believed that part of the perfection of God’s creation is the ability of creatures to change in order to survive. Yes, Darwin believed in God and supported the church. I think Charles Darwin and the Theory of Natural Selection will help increase young readers' understanding of what evolution and survival of the fittest truly means.