4.04.2014

Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution (2002)

Written and Illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Houghton Mifflin

I watched with great interest the recent debate between Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ken Hamm of Answers in Genesis, and it got me interested in learning more about evolution. I read a lot of contentious reviews of the debate, lots of passionate diatribes, so I thought it would be refreshing to visit the issue with the simplicity of a picture book.

I love Steve Jenkins' cut paper illustrations in all of his books, and this one is no exception. interestingI would instead read a picture book. He fashions more than one hundred different animals, including a spread of beetles, and offfers a cohesive narrative for their development on earth. It's a beautiful book, and nice to see - even on an Amazon review page - people can have civil discourse about a picture book made for children.


By Ades Rocker
I bought this book because my 7-year-old has learned to say hi to Jesus when he passes by a church (thanks to grandma). He stopped believing in Mother Nature and I wanted to nip religious fanaticism in the bud. This book worked! It is beautifully illustrated, interesting, and full of cool facts. It furthered our discussions about creation vs. evolution and since my son is a lover of dinosaurs, he is on his way to scientific allegiance. I highly reccommend it to any parent who wants to teach children about the history of the earth and to unteach insipid mythology. *Although I must warn, it has quite a bit of writing and big words for young children.

Jennifer says:
Grandma has oodles more wisdom than you think. Jesus loves you regardless.


david_m1998 says:
When I was a kid I thought evolution was a joke. I couldn't believe that scientists (I know now that a lot disagree with neo-darwinism) would believe all life came from the same ancestor. It was obvious to me that that is not happening in the real world. Though i was taught evolution at school in a French public school.
I am now more than ever convinced that God created the first species ,a d the first 2 humans, and the first seeds.

Anyway, I hope your kid gets to think for himself, and search the real truth not the mouth-fed "truth".


M. Clark says:
I'll never understand why people feel the need to inject their "insight" into areas that obviously aren't for them. Why are you even reading reviews of this book if it so vastly goes agaisnt what you believe? To Ades, your review helped me choose between several books to purchase to battle the same issue of the Super Deity being put upon my young child by outside forces. To each their own. If we lived by that, wouldn't the world be a much better place?


Amazon Customer says:
--the mouth-fed "truth"--

How on earth you do think you learned about creationism? Deductive reasoning taught in Sunday school?


Clancifer says:
Good for you, Ades. I have done my best to shield my children from the influence of religion, and I think this is the perfect book to help show them how life came to be on this planet.


Craig DeMetz says:
"Sheild ones from the influence of religion"?? Here's total science even regarding Genesis' six days of creation:
I'll bet most 'dads' and 'moms' don't know this either::
Every scientist knows that the measurement of the passing of time varies. Ex.; time passing much, MUCH faster or slower at the event horizon of a black hole than it does on earth. While a million years pass on this earth, a few hours might pass near a black hole. Well.... Genesis is measuring time passing AT THE BEGINNING of the Big Bang-- from the BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF MATTER. Time passed a million million times faster then than it does on this earth.
Check this :: 16 billion years on this earth, it turns out EQUALS TO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EXACTLY at the Big Bang SIX DAYS.
!!!!!!!!!!!! I guess you notice that this is undeniable scientific math too. And I name sources.
"Unteach insipid mythology"???? This is where (six days) ignorant people think the Bible is most mythology!! The supposed error in Genesis time periods. WELL???
You're all snippey and rhetorical about "deductive reasoning taught in Sunday school?" ???
Oh how atheists just don't get it. What I've shown here is objective fact. Let's hear your specific sources to back up the expressions YOU speak, atheists and agnostics.
Source: Dr. Gerald Schroeder 1/3 through "The Science of God".
Thanks for the space; I'm SO sick and tired of atheists considering it more of a possibility that there are trillions of trillions of universe than there is a Creator. Absolutely outrageous. Anyone not follow that???

Totally recommended reading of objective facts: Dr. Gerald Schroeder's "The Science of God".
Time passed a million million times faster at the moment of the creation of matter; than it does here on earth.
16 billion earth years = exactly 6 days at the creation of matter.
The passing of time was measured in Genesis from the moment of creation of matter. From God's perspective, and the Bible is all about God.
(Time passes so much differently at a black hole than it does here on earth.)
"A common error in exploring the biblical age relative to the discoveries of cosmology is to view the universe from a specific location [earth] rather than choosing
a reference frame that embraces the entire universe and retains that universal perspective...." Genesis chooses the right reference frame.
From the creation of matter. Now you tell me that God didn't write the Bible merely through men !!! God, the Creator of this universe . . . .
"The clock of Genesis starts with the creation of the universe....... It must identify the relative passage of time not between particular places in the universe
but between moments of the universe as it evolved from the big bang."

WELL???? WEELLLLLLLLLLL????????

Cypress Green says:
Craig,
"Genesis is measuring time passing AT THE BEGINNING of the Big Bang-- from the BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF MATTER."
How fun to watch you use science to back your fairy tale book! Isn't science great?....when you cherry pick it?
"What I've shown here is objective fact."
Scientists aren't even SURE yet that there even WAS a big bang. It's the foremost of several theories being looked at and tested. Science does that, you know...TEST things. Does your religion TEST THING? Hmm? What if next year new evidence shows the big bang is incorrect? Where does that leave YOU?

Cypress Green says:
David:
"When I was a kid I thought evolution was a joke. I couldn't believe that scientists (I know now that a lot disagree with neo-darwinism) would believe all life came from the same ancestor."
"I am now more than ever convinced that God created the first species ,a d the first 2 humans"

So, you can't agree with science that the first life came from common ancestors that grew and changed, but you CAN believe it came from TWO God-created-out-of-dirt ancestors? Huh?
"Sheild ones from the influence of religion"?? Here's total science even regarding Genesis' six days of creation:
I'll bet most 'dads' and 'moms' don't know this either::
Every scientist knows that the measurement of the passing of time varies. Ex.; time passing much, MUCH faster or slower at the event horizon of a black hole than it does on earth. While a million years pass on this earth, a few hours might pass near a black hole. Well.... Genesis is measuring time passing AT THE BEGINNING of the Big Bang-- from the BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF MATTER. Time passed a million million times faster then than it does on this earth.
Check this :: 16 billion years on this earth, it turns out EQUALS TO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EXACTLY at the Big Bang SIX DAYS.
!!!!!!!!!!!! I guess you notice that this is undeniable scientific math too. And I name sources.
"Unteach insipid mythology"???? This is where (six days) ignorant people think the Bible is most mythology!! The supposed error in Genesis time periods. WELL???
You're all snippey and rhetorical about "deductive reasoning taught in Sunday school?" ???
Oh how atheists just don't get it. What I've shown here is objective fact. Let's hear your specific sources to back up the expressions YOU speak, atheists and agnostics.
Source: Dr. Gerald Schroeder 1/3 through "The Science of God".
Thanks for the space; I'm SO sick and tired of atheists considering it more of a possibility that there are trillions of trillions of universe than there is a Creator. Absolutely outrageous. Anyone not follow that???

Totally recommended reading of objective facts: Dr. Gerald Schroeder's "The Science of God".
Time passed a million million times faster at the moment of the creation of matter; than it does here on earth.
16 billion earth years = exactly 6 days at the creation of matter.
The passing of time was measured in Genesis from the moment of creation of matter. From God's perspective, and the Bible is all about God.
(Time passes so much differently at a black hole than it does here on earth.)
"A common error in exploring the biblical age relative to the discoveries of cosmology is to view the universe from a specific location [earth] rather than choosing
a reference frame that embraces the entire universe and retains that universal perspective...." Genesis chooses the right reference frame.
From the creation of matter. Now you tell me that God didn't write the Bible merely through men !!! God, the Creator of this universe . . . .
"The clock of Genesis starts with the creation of the universe....... It must identify the relative passage of time not between particular places in the universe
but between moments of the universe as it evolved from the big bang."

WELL???? WEELLLLLLLLLLL????????


Cypress Green says:
Craig,
"Genesis is measuring time passing AT THE BEGINNING of the Big Bang-- from the BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF MATTER."
How fun to watch you use science to back your fairy tale book! Isn't science great?....when you cherry pick it?
"What I've shown here is objective fact."
Scientists aren't even SURE yet that there even WAS a big bang. It's the foremost of several theories being looked at and tested. Science does that, you know...TEST things. Does your religion TEST THING? Hmm? What if next year new evidence shows the big bang is incorrect? Where does that leave YOU?


Cypress Green says:

David:
"When I was a kid I thought evolution was a joke. I couldn't believe that scientists (I know now that a lot disagree with neo-darwinism) would believe all life came from the same ancestor."
"I am now more than ever convinced that God created the first species ,a d the first 2 humans"

So, you can't agree with science that the first life came from common ancestors that grew and changed, but you CAN believe it came from TWO God-created-out-of-dirt ancestors? Huh?

3.31.2014

Saltypie: A Chocktaw Journey from Darkness into Light (2010)

Written by Tim Tingle

Illustrated by Karen Clarkson

Cinco Puntos Press

When Indian storytellers and writers get together, we often ask, "How much can we tell them?"

I'd love to be a fly on the wall at one of those get-togethers. It turns out, Tim Tingle has quite a bit to say in this book, put out by good ol' Cinco Puntos. The story goes to a lot of places. Beginning with a rousing bee sting on the bottom, feeding chickens and doing chores, to a stone thrown in anger and fear, a cut across the face, and a really beautiful image of Tim's grandmother as a young woman, holding her hands to her face with blood seeping between her fingers, her son's tiny hands reaching up with curiosity. It reminded him of sweet cherry pie filling, bubbling up from the criss-cross crust of Mawmaw's pies.

This is 'saltypie,' the taste of the blood, the sting of the bee. "It's a way of dealing with trouble, son. Sometimes you don't know where the trouble comes from. You just kinda shrug it off, say saltypie. It helps you carry on."

All of these stories come from Tim Tingle's familial recollections. He's working through these feelings of anger, hostility, which he had as a child, trying to understand why the universe wasn't fair.

The identity of the stone-thrower was never discovered, and it's interesting how it's not a central part of this story. It's just something that happened, and soon makes way for the story of Tim's grandmother recovering her sight decades later. "Maybe it was a stone of misunderstanding, thrown by a boy who simply didn't know," writes Tim. "...let us forgive him. Let us teach his grandchildren, so they will pocket their stones and extend a hand in friendship."

There's quite a bit going on in the afterward to the book, I found it to be as interesting, if not more interesting, than the story itself. In response to the question, "How much can we tell them?" he writes:

Can we tell them that the vast majority of children's books written about Indians in America were not written by Indians? Can we somehow convince them that this matters?


3.25.2014

Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Norse (2001)

Written and Illustrated by Leonard Everett Fisher

Holiday House

I haven't done a Leonard Everett Fisher book in a while, and I was surprised to see that this one was from 2001. Whenever I hold one of his books, they always seem to have the feel from a bygone era, not something nearly so recent. Paul Galdone has the same effect on me. There's nothing at all flashy or ironic about anything he produces, his books are uniformly handsome and solid.

In this volume, we get exactly what the title promises: the Gods and Goddesses of the Norse people, including fan favorites Odin, Thor and Loki, but who here are given no more special attention than Frigga the goddess of Marriage (from whom 'Friday' comes) and Bragi the God of Poetry. I do appreciate, however, that only Loki's designation is given qualifying quotation marks: "God" of Mischief.

After all the characters have been introduced and their relationships between one another spelled out, it all comes to a head in the final entry: Ragnarok: The Last Battle. Everyone dies, and in very specific ways: Odin will be swallowed alive by Fenris the wolf, Fenris the wolf will be killed by Vidar, and on and on, a death chain. "Once the gods are dead, the last two surviving giants would gulp down the goddesses of Asgard, and then devour the suin, the moon, and the stars. Then they too would disappear. Finally, the great tree Yggdrasill collapses, bringing down the entire universe, leaving behind a cold, empty, and black universe."
Ragnarok

This really does sound like the death of the universe, the Big Crunch as some call it, though Stephen Hawking thinks the cosmos will just spin out further and further until everything is too far away from anything to survive. But I prefer imagining everything being devoured and collapsing, the oscillating universe, the Big Bang followed by a Big Crunch followed by another Big Bang and so on. I guess the Norse agree: "After a while, the dark void would give way to a new universe. New worlds would be born. And the gods and goddesses would rise again, to rule a world without evil."

But will they be the same gods and goddesses? Or different iterations of the old gods? How can they say for certain that there will be no evil? Perhaps everything will be doomed to repeat itself. Freya's husband Od will leave her once again, and again she will cry herself to sleep with tears of gold.

Loki

3.24.2014

The Little Moose Who Couldn't go to Sleep (2013)

Written by Willy Claflin

Illustrated by James Stimson

August House

This is a Maynard Moose book, so of course it begins with a warning: "This book contains Moose grammar, spelling and usage, all of which has been known to scrumble up the human brain."

This is the fourth Marynard Moose book - a trilogy no longer - and the fourth I've reviewed, and again the boundaries of the tale get pushed further back, this time as far as the outer reaches of space, where Mother Moose makes her home amongst the constellations and things get a trifle on the metaphysical side.

There's a creation story at play, which sets the tone of what is to come: "The whole universe come from the kitchen of Mother Moose," says Maynard, hovering over the non-sleeping form of Little Moose, his favorite cousin. "Is one thing to make a universe out of Thick air. But to make a universe out of Thin air, you got to stir and stir and stir."

In the world of Maynard the Moose and Willy Claflin's imagination, counting sheep is not just an excercise in self-induced monotony, but the ticket to an adventure, as the insomniac-laden Little Moose is transported out the window and through space, "up and up into the dark night sky, where the warm winds blow and the stars all sporkle and blink," and then from there to the house of Mother Moose, floating above the cosmos and filled with a wood burning stove and all the accoutrements of coziness, the place where the stories come from.

I like the unpredictable quality of the Maynard Moose books, and I feel that with each book the narrative gets more and more loosened up, freer to go in any direction Maynard feels like taking it. Most of the book is taken up with a more conventional back-and-forth between Little Moose and her parents and teachers, then suddenly, apropos of nearly nothing, off we fly on the back of a sheep wearing a football helmet!


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