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by Isabel Thomas

Book list Over Egnéus' truly engrossing collage illustrations, Thomas takes the complicated concept of evolution and distills it for young readers, using the ongoing story of the peppered moth. There are two variations of this moth one charcoal dark, the other paler and lightly speckled. Once, the speckled moths were more common; it was more difficult for the charcoal moths to camouflage themselves against the light-colored trees, and they were eaten by birds more frequently and did not survive to pass along their genes. But as the world became more industrial, pollution began to darken trees; now the charcoal moths blended in, and the speckled moths stood out. Charcoal moths grew in number, and the speckled moths almost disappeared. But the story continues, ending on a hopeful note: slowly, cities began to burn less coal, and the air grew cleaner. Trees grew less sooty. And the speckled moth population rebounded. Today, both kinds of moth can be found, and their species continues to adapt. From its striking silver-plated cover on, this is a stunner. The text, both poetic and informational, tells an evolution story while transmitting a gentle environmental message, and the artwork is detailed, at times alarming, and always captivating. Back matter provides further information on the moths and natural selection. A gorgeous blend of text and illustrations and a wonderfully successful introduction to nonfiction for younger readers.--Maggie Reagan Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Silvery, incandescent cover art will entice readers to this story of adaptation and the peppered moths of England. Thomas (the Little Guides to Great Lives series) introduces natural selection through a lyrical telling of the moth's history from the early 19th century on. The narrative recounts how the population of light peppered moths thrived, able to rest "on lichen-covered branches" until the Industrial Revolution, when dark peppered moths increased, owing to their ability to camouflage against polluted landscapes. ("A bird went hunting for a snack./ Now the world was darker./ Which moths were disguised?/ Which moths would survive?") Today, thanks to cleaner forms of energy, both variations "find places to hide and survive." Mixed media and digital illustrations by Egnéus (These Are Animals) show the mottled, wispy figures-the wing patterns resemble intricate tree silhouettes-against bold splashes of color and patterns. The elegant moth images can seem slightly at odds with the cartoonlike depictions of people and environs, but an evolving color palette (from light to dark and back to light) and dynamic juxtaposing of hues create a sophisticated effect. Back matter further defines the concepts presented in this eye-catching introduction to Darwinian evolution. Ages 6-10. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book In a shadowy (pre-industrial) wood, a peppered moth--its "speckled, freckled" patterns wonderfully detailed in Egnius's gorgeous mixed-media illustrations--attempts to survive; all-black moths stand out and are quickly eaten. But things change: with soot from nineteenth-century industrialization, the black moths are now hidden. Thomas deftly builds an easily understandable explanation of natural selection into the well-paced narrative. Back matter shows both variations of the peppered moth. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Thomas presents the peppered moth as an emblem of natural selection, tracking its adaptations during the Industrial Revolution and beyond.The moth's striking salt-and-pepper scales, which enhanced its camouflage during daytime rests on lichen, became an impediment as late-19th-century industrial pollution prevailed. As lichens died and industrial soot blackened tree bark, the species' occasional dark moth's advantages resulted in an adaptation. With the light, speckled moths more easily spotted and eaten by prey, surviving dark moths procreated, dominating the species within a 50-year time span. In turn, the answering trend toward pollution mitigation swung the pendulum back. Lichens reappeared, soot-stained bark fell away, and the light moths' camouflage value reasserted itself, with both dark and light moths seen today. Thomas narrates this biological success story in past tense and simple, declarative prose. Egnus' lovely illustrationsin traditional mixed media and Photoshopprovide a stylized overview of the moth's adaptive journey. The bilateral symmetry of the peppered moth's wing coloration is ignored in favor of exquisite, dark umber-and-gray montages evoking dry-brushed ink blots and sun-dappled botanical silhouettes. Forest tableaux yield to industrialization's coal-powered factories and locomotives, Egnus' palette morphs from natural hues to rust-red and soot-blackand back, to today's tentative, hopeful blues. (Depicted humans are light-skinned and red-nosed.) An inspired choice for text type (Tom's New Roman) and a gorgeous, silver-embellished cover enhance the package. A fascinating story with striking visuals. (author's note) (Informational picture book. 5-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1—Thomas and Egnéus show how adaptation and natural selection work in the evolutionary process in order to change a species. In Great Britain, when industry heavily relied on coal, environmental factors affected the survival rates of the peppered moth, because predators could now see what was once camouflaged. The text and illustrations are clear and move at a steady pace with a summary in the back matter, which solidifies the content. Despite the lack of source material, the value of this text is high. Children will understand how the environment can change an animal's survival rate and the passing of its genetic information. Moths as a subject do not usually garner high circulation rates, but if this book is placed in a display, the cover will attract attention. The illustrations throughout are mixed media, but the cover literally shines: silvery moths against a night sky is an attention grabber. Originally published in Great Britain in 2018, this text will enhance any juvenile nonfiction collection. VERDICT Buy this title for its clear presentation.—Nancy Call, formerly at Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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