Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: The Story of Evolution

Pringle, Laurence. Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: The Story of Evolution. Boyds Mills, 2011. 96pp. Lexile 1000.

Veteran nonfiction writer Laurence Pringle offers a clear, readable explanation of evolution and the evidence that backs it up.  He takes readers through the history of the theory, discussing Darwin’s role, geological and fossil discoveries, and the role of genetics and carbon dating.  The examples of natural selection, which are fascinating, include such timely topics as the fact that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are the result of evolution. Pringle stresses that the word theory in the context of “theory of evolution” means, not a “hunch or rough guess” but rather a "well-understood set of ideas supported by a tremendous amt of research and findings" (p. 42).  Excellent cut-paper artwork by Steve Jenkins and color photographs extend the text.  A glossary, bibliography, index, and lists of suggested books and websites complete this fine science book.

Reading Std #4: Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including technical, connotative, and figurative meanings; analyze role of specific word choices.  Pringle is clear and unequivocal in his presentation of evolution as a basic aspect of science.  Have students consider his use of, and specific discussion of, the word “theory.”