Parents' Guide to

The Tree of Life: A Book Depicting the Life of Charles Darwin: Naturalist, Geologist & Thinker

By Marigny Dupuy, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Children's biography of the famous naturalist.

Book Peter Sis Biography 2003
The Tree of Life: A Book Depicting the Life of Charles Darwin: Naturalist, Geologist & Thinker Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

Although in picture book format, this is not an easy book, but for children (and adults) willing to make the effort, it is deeply rewarding.

The Tree of Life is organized chronologically, beginning with Darwin's birth into a prosperous English family in 1809. Because the author is tracing the influences on the young Darwin, both familial and cultural, however, the amount of information pertinent to the story could be overwhelming. Sis has developed a signature style perfectly suited to such a challenge. The illustrations are packed with pictures of people important to the story, with relevant scenes, and with additional writing that helps illuminate the story. Underneath the illustrations text runs in two and sometimes three fonts so that the reader can trace Charles Darwin's public life, private life, and what the author calls, secret life. The secret life in Darwin's case was the development of his revolutionary theory of evolution, work to which only a select few were privy.

One is left with a clear sense of the personal life of this famous man, from the difficulties that he had convincing his more conventional father to allow him to pursue his professional passion to his full family life with a wife and 10 children. The reader also gains a grasp of the essential aspects of his thinking about the evolutionary process.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate