Cover image for The Kingfisher book of evolution
The Kingfisher book of evolution
Webster, Stephen, 1957-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Kingfisher, 2000.
Physical Description:
96 pages : illustrations (some color), color maps ; 30 cm
Examines the evolution of life on Earth, from the first primitive organisms to modern humans, and attempts to look into the future.
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QH367.1 .W43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



A popular science writer follows the story of life as it unfolds on Earth. Every aspect of evolution is covered, beginning with a look at the first primitive organisms 3.5 million years ago and ending with a daring vision of life in the future. 200+ full-color photos.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-8. This wide-ranging introduction to evolution discusses many interrelated ideas. Each double-page spread presents a single topic within one of six broad subjects: the development of the beliefs concerning animal and human origins, the theory of evolution, the history of life on Earth, the evolution of behavior, the evolution of humans, and the future of evolution. The last section, an unexpected yet logical progression from the previous ones, speculates about future humans, the possibility of human extinction, and alien evolution. The illustration is lavish, if sometimes distracting, but readers will be fascinated with many of the pictures, which include colorful paintings and photos of animals, people, and places; surreal photomontages of fantastic scenes in the past and the future; portraits of scientists; scientific artifacts; maps; and diagrams. Students researching individual topics will need to consult other sources for more details, but this large-format book presents a great deal of information in an attractive manner, and it is one of only a few books accessible to young people that delves into so many aspects of the subject. --Carolyn Phelan

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-9-This ambitious undertaking attempts to be all encompassing, but it is fragmentary and simplistic. Going beyond the basic tenet of explaining the complexities of evolution, Webster includes a section on future evolutionary trends as well, incorporating cloning and gene therapy, the possible direction of human evolution, and even includes "alien" evolutionary possibilities. Divided into double-page "chapters" that constrict the information flow, the text is further broken down into captions and headed paragraphs. Certain complex concepts do not fare well with such oversimplification. Take, for example, the assertion that "All mammals are intelligent creatures, good parents, and very sociable-." Intelligent probably, but not always good parents (watch the nightly news), and not always sociable (North American badgers, grizzly bears, and most wild felines, to name a few, tend to be loners). The glossary defines an atom as "The smallest particle of matter." The artwork, some of which is merely decorative, consists of a plethora of photos, colorful illustrations, and diagrams scattered on every page. Some of the diagrams-e.g., that of migrating arctic terns-are a tad confusing. There is food for the mind here, if properly sifted. Linda Gamlin's eye-catching Evolution (DK, 1993) is less ambitious though the format is similar and works better, and Alvin Silverstein's Evolution (21st Century, 1998) is far less visual, but has a smoother flow of text. In many areas of the country, the subject is still a very sticky wicket, and the topic demands the best presentation possible. This is not it.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.