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[Nonfiction Wednesday] The Beauty of Evolution As Captured in “Moth”

A riveting nonfiction tale about the peppered moth.

Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2018 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.

I found this book by sheer accident while looking for titles that would fit our current reading theme. I was captivated by the evident beauty of the art – and the deceptively simple text that made the concept of evolution accessible and aesthetically-appealing to young readers.

Moth: An Evolution Story

Words by Isabel Thomas Art by Daniel Egneus
Published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books (2018)
ISBN: 1547600209 (ISBN13: 9781547600205)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Oftentimes, a discussion around evolution can be fraught with so many polemical issues that fall outside the scientific purview. This ‘evolution story’ strips away all that by focusing on a tale of the peppered moth, and how it has evolved through the years.

The story shows how peppered moths who are able to suitably disguise themselves have a greater chance of not being eaten by birds who are looking for food – cycle of life, indeed.

Unlike the rare and darker-coloured moths, peppered moths who are able to blend into the trees, the colour of their wings serving as beautiful camouflage, have a better chance of survival and passing on their genes to their offspring.

Yet, as the world progresses, bringing with it pollution, blackening the branches of the trees – the darker-coloured moths now stood a greater chance of survival as they blend into their environment more- as opposed to the peppered moths. And thus, life evolves.

The story does not end there, however, as people become more aware of environmental sustainability, and make concerted efforts to clean the air, burn less coal, and cities become greener yet again. This would naturally require the peppered moths to transform yet again – for adaptation and survival.

Teachers would be happy to note that there is a detailed Author’s Note found at the end of the book, providing more scientific information for students’ delectation. Teachers may also want to visit this website that provides guidelines as to how evolution can be taught, while avoiding common pitfalls and misconceptions, as well as being mindful of scientific terms that leave the wrong impression to an impressionable student’s mind. It also has information about peppered moths that can be good points for further discussion as this book is introduced to the class.

#LitWorld2018GB Update: Isabel Thomas is from the UK, while Daniel Egneus was born in Sweden and currently based in Greece.

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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