Moth: An Evolution Story by Isabel Thomas chronicles the “change and adaption, of survival and hope” of the peppered moth during the 19th century, a time of industrial environmental changes. Thomas’ exquisite language use leads readers to explore the cycle of life of these moths. The moths emerged from cocoons, “skittered and swooped… and looped the loop all night long” before laying eggs of their own. These moths were typically spotted in nature as white and peppered with specks of dark, but sometimes they were born “with wings as dark as charcoal.” The lighter speckled moths slept on lichen-covered trees and had better camouflage from prey. “The dark-colored moths made a feast for hungry chicks,” because they stood out on the white tree branches. Industrialization changed the environment so that the air was polluted and trees filled with soot, which altered the survival of the light-colored moths. They were no longer camouflaged from their prey. Now charcoal-colored moths survived in abundance. This might sound like an end to the white-colored moth, but Thomas provides hope in this chronicle. Many years later people decided to be more aware of the environment by cleaning the air and burning less pollutants. Over time “both colors of moths find places to hide and survive.”
Egnéus’ stunning illustrations capture the light and dark of both moth species and the eeriness of the gloomy environment during the industrial revolution through the mixed-media of watercolor, crayons, acrylics, collage and Photoshop. I am particularly drawn to the intricacy of the cover, which illustrates a large silver-foiled speckled moth and is freckled with foiled dots representing moths shimmering in the moonlight.
Through the back matter in this 48-page picturebook, the reader can obtain more in-depth information of the scientific concepts of evolution, natural selection and adaptation as it relates to the peppered moth. -Recommended by Kathleen Crawford-McKinney, Wayne State University.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
PubDate: June 25, 2019
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