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Teachers' Guide

Press Release

The Tree of Life
Charles Darwin

Published October 2003

New: Listen to Peter Sís discuss The Tree of Life in an audio interview on

Full-color illustrations by the author

Ages 8 up / 44 pages
ISBN: 0-374-45628-3 / $18.00
Frances Foster Books
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

A Junior Library Guild Selection
Fanfare, The Horn Book's Honor List
Kirkus Editor's Choice
New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children's Book of the Year
New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year
Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

In this brilliant presentation of a revolutionary thinker's life, the picture book becomes an art form.

As far as I can judge, I am not apt to follow blindly the lead of other men . . .

Charles Darwin was, above all else, an independent thinker who continues even now to influence the way we look at the natural world. His endless curiosity and passion for detail resulted in a wealth of notebooks, diaries, correspondence, and published writings that Peter Sís transforms into a visual treasure trove. A multilayered journey through Darwin's world, The Tree of Life begins with his childhood and traces the arc of his life through university and career, following him around the globe on the voyage of the Beagle, and home to a quiet but momentous life devoted to science and family. Sís uses his own singular vision to create a gloriously detailed panorama of a genius’s trajectory through investigating and understanding the mysteries of nature. In pictures executed in fine pen and ink and lush watercolors -– cameo portraits, illustrated pages of diary, cutaway views of the Beagle, as well as charts, maps, and a gatefold spread -– Peter Sís has shaped a wondrous introduction to Charles Darwin.

"Sweeping in scope, lavish in detail, this is a book to launch many a reader's personal voyage of discovery." --Starred, Publishers Weekly

"Beautifully conceived and executed, the presentation is a humorous and informative tour de force that will absorb and challenge readers . . . a fabulous, visually exciting introduction to the man, his ideas and the science of the natural world." --Starred, School Library Journal

"Sís translates Darwin's written legacy into visual narrative in an extraordinary book that explores Darwin's life, work, and sources of inspiration . . .The detailed illustrations and narrative complexities demand of readers the same process Darwin set for himself: observe carefully, make connections, and learn." --Starred, The Horn Book

"Sís incorporates phrases, lines, and paragraphs of text into the artwork of this highly visual biography of Charles Darwin . . . A sophisticated interpretation that will have rapt admirers, including many adults." --Booklist

"This enchanting find is for readers of all ages." --VOYA

Copyright © 2002-2004 Peter Sís
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