A book that touts the claim, “Book folds out the length of a triceratops”, on the cover is a book that I’m going to stop and read. A Brief History of Life on Earth attempts to put the changes our little blue dot has been through into perspective by creating a foldout book that stretches through time and unfolds to reveal the formation of volcanoes and glaciers; the development of aquatic life, to the dinosaurs, early mammals, and modern humans, ending with a modern-day lakeside scene. Each spread folds out, accordion-style; the illustrations are colorful. Each spread has the noted age and time period (Hadean Age, 4.6 to 4 billion years ago; Proterozoic Age, 2.5 billion to 540 million years ago), and a brief, descriptive paragraph. Upon reaching the end of the Holocene Epoch (11,700 years ago to the present day), readers can flip the page over and look through a timeline of Earth’s first 4.6 billion years, really giving kids an idea of how recently we humans arrived on the scene. The book unfolds to a full 26 feet (8 meters), allowing you to see a truly visual timeline. Just get a lot of volunteers in a large space to hold the pages!
This is a handy book for classroom and library reference, and a fun gift for science fans. In circulation, I know my copy would be dead within the first 3-5 circs. But would I buy a copy to use during science storytimes or Discovery Club sessions? Heck, yes. It’s fun, eye-catching, and informative.