by Elizabeth Shreeve; illus. by Frann Preston-Gannon
32 pages; ages 6-9
theme: prehistoric life, evolution, STEM
Life began in the vast empty sea, when Earth was young.
From single-celled microbes to dinosaurs and beyond, this book takes readers on a fantastic journey. First stop: the Edicaran period, 546 to 635 million years ago. Back then, the sea was filled with “strange and squishy creatures.” At the end of that period there was an explosion of diversity. Millions of years passed, through another couple periods and then: fish! insects! mollusks! It is the Devonian period (359-419 million years ago).
What I like about this book: It is wonderful storytelling about life, the universe, and extinction after extinction. And yet, some of those early animals survived to populate the land and change. I love the artwork, too.
This Friday is the start of Cephalopod Week, where folks celebrate cuttlefish, octopuses, and squid, so I had to ask Elizabeth One Question: What is your favorite cephalopod?
Elizabeth: Oh, this is a tough choice but I’ve got to say…ammonites! These amazing mollusks emerged over 400 million years ago, made it through the Permian Extinction 252 million years ago when 96% of marine species disappeared (phew!), and exploded into many different sizes and shapes during the Triassic. Ammonites swam backwards using their tentacles for jet propulsion, a seemingly inefficient technique that kept them zooming around for around 350 million years.
Beyond the Books:
Learn more about the geologic time scale here.
Check out Elizabeth’s video introducing Out of the Blue and why she wrote it here. She’s made a series of videos about different creatures, from ancient to modern times. You can learn about the many creatures featured in her book at her collection of videos.
Learn more about cephalopods over at the Science Friday website. There are links to virtual tours and even a movie night - all happening over the next few days.
Elizabeth is a member of #STEAMTeam2021. You can find out more about her at her website.
Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by the publisher.