Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Moth: An Evolution Story

Moth: An Evolution Story 
by Isabel Thomas and Daniel Egnéus
Bloomsbury, 2019
Grades 2-8

This gorgeous science picture book explains adaptations and evolution in clear, understandable terms. The subject of the narrative is the peppered moth, a species that uses camouflage (speckled wings) to blend into its surroundings. As solid colored, darker moths were born they were the first to be eaten by bats and birds.

During the Industrial Revolution factories and trains polluted the air and coated the surroundings with soot, and the darker solid-colored moths blended into its surroundings leaving the speckled moths vulnerable. The peppered moth adapted again in later years when the pollution, soot and smog was cleaned up, and they could use their speckled wings to camoflage themselves in trees and leaves.

Watercolor, digital, crayon and collage illustrations compliment the poetic narrative. The freckled wings of the moths are depicted in the night sky and on a contrasting white background. Somber colors are used to illustrate the pollution as factories spew smoke and soot into the blue sky. The story ends on a positive note with the word "hope" on the final page. Back matter includes information about natural selection and adaptations.

Moth would make an excellent science read aloud for a class learning about animal adaptations. It's a highly recommended purchase that is likely to garner some attention during awards season.