Title: Darwin’s Rival: Alfred Russel Wallace and the Search for Evolution
Author: Christiane Dorion
Illustrator: Harry Tennant
Publisher: Walker Studio
Genre: Children’s non-fiction, Biography, Science, History
Book format: Hardback
Description: Everyone knows Charles Darwin, the famous naturalist who proposed the theory of evolution. But, not everyone knows the story of Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin’s friend and rival who simultaneously discovered the process of natural selection.
This sumptuously illustrated book tells Wallace’s story, from his humble beginnings to his adventures and expeditions to the Amazon and Malay Archipelago, and shows the great contribution he made to one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time.
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: This is such an amazing book about a man who many of us have probably never heard of. ‘Darwin’s Rival: Alfred Russel Wallace and the Search for Evolution’ is a beautiful hardback book that’s bigger than A4 in size though a bit smaller than A3. The cover alone is beautiful with the title and the butterflies embossed. Inside there are thick matt pages filled with lovely illustrations and text.
I had never heard of Alfred Russel Wallace before and I didn’t know that Darwin had a rival when it came to the discovery of evolution, but that is exactly what Wallace was. The book explains who Wallace was, beginning with his childhood and showing us how he developed a love of studying nature. After some attempts at different occupations he soon became fascinated with the idea of studying and collecting the new and exotic species that existed in the rainforest. As you read each double page of the book you find out more and more about his jouney into different countries and the amazing discoveries he made, all the while an idea of evolution forming at the back of his mind.
Everything you read in the book is really fascinating, and I couldn’t put this down, wanting to find out when Wallace finally discovered the idea of evolution and what role Darwin had in his life. Wallace’s journey was far from an easy one and I like the fact all this information about how hard it was, was included in this book. The way the book is written is very interesting and easy to understand and I like the way it ends as we discover what happened with Darwin and how amazingly humble Wallace was throughout his life.
The illustrations in the book are what make this such a beautiful and amazing read. I’ve always loved how interesting and special books from Walker Studio feel, but the images in this one are lovely, feeling both like paintings and at the same time having enough detail to show off the animals, birds, fish and insects in a lot of detail. I don’t think the book would have such appeal if it wasn’t for the pictures that are on every double page.
This really is a great book that I would recommend anyone to read (even adults!), especially if you’ve never heard of Alfred Russel Wallace. It’s such an interesting book showing you how Wallace spent his years exploring unknown areas and how both he and Darwin’s rivalry and relationship developed. It was amazing to read how important his discovery was to the scientific community, and to Darwin too! And you get to read a few quotes from Wallace himself (as well as a brilliant one from Darwin at the end too!).
What do you think of this book? Had you ever heard of Alfred Russel Wallace before today? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂