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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life

Charles Darwin

Peter Sís

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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 scientist's trajectory through investigating and understanding the mysteries of nature and evolution. 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, the author of The Wall, Starry Messenger, Tibet, Madlenka, and The Pilot and the Little Prince, has shaped a wondrous introduction to Charles Darwin. This title has Common Core connections.

An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
An ALA Notable Children’s Book
A New York Times Best Illustrated Book
A New York Times Notable Children’s Book
A… More…

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 scientist's trajectory through investigating and understanding the mysteries of nature and evolution. 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, the author of The Wall, Starry Messenger, Tibet, Madlenka, and The Pilot and the Little Prince, has shaped a wondrous introduction to Charles Darwin. This title has Common Core connections.

An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
An ALA Notable Children’s Book
A New York Times Best Illustrated Book
A New York Times Notable Children’s Book
A Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of the Year
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year


“Sweeping in scope, lavish in detail, this is a book to launch many a reader’s personal voyage of discovery.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“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.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“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.” —The Horn Book, starred review

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Parents' Choice Award Winner, Horn Book Magazine Fanfare List, School Library Best Books of the Year, Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, Amazon.com Top 10 Editors' Picks: Children, Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, ALA Notable Children's Books, Kirkus Reviews Editor's Choice, NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade, NYTBR Notable Children's BOTY, NYT Best Illustrated BOTY

Praise for The Tree of Life

“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

Reviews from Goodreads

Peter Sís

Peter Sís is the internationally renowned author and/or illustrator of many books for children, including Starry Messenger:Galileo Galilei; The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain; and Tibet Through the Red Box, all Caldecott Honor books, and The Pilot and the Little Prince. He is the recipient of the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration and has also been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He has lived in and around New York City since 1984.

image of Peter Síso
Copyright Palma Fiacco Fotografin

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