February 2, 2010

Evolution by Daniel Loxton


Daniel Loxton is all kinds of awesome. And for such a shy guy, I sure do keep hearing him everywhere. I guess that's what you have to do when you have a book to plug. For those of you that don't know, Daniel is the editor, writer, and illustrator of Junior Skeptic magazine which is sold as an insert with the great Skeptic magazine published by Michael Shermer's Skeptic Society.

But now he's got a fantastic book out and he's a regular contributor to Skeptiblog, is a special guest host on this week's The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, and was recently featured on the Skepticality podcast.

That's all well and good, but I wouldn't link to all those just because. Each one is worth checking out. His work at Jr. Skeptic is always of a high standard and will make for a dozen more great books. His blog posts are always thoughtful and well written. The SGU guest hosting was informative and funny (I hope he does it more often). The Skepticality podcast goes more in depth on all of his work.

Now to the book. Evolution: How We and All Living things Came to Be. Haven't got my hands on it yet, but it's based on a two part series he did in Jr. Skeptic issues #26 and #27 which I did get to see. The illustrations are superb. The science concepts are not watered down at all, only the technical language. It's a well-known unspoken secret that many subscribers to the magazine skip right to the Jr. section first before reading the rest. Sometimes the Jr. version is all you really need to know (and it has those great illustrations). It's informative and fun, usually on about a 5th-9th grade level. Want to know why, if apes evolved into humans, there are still apes? If evolution is the way life works, how do scientists really know? What about religion? If you want to know and don't want to read long evolutionary biology books just for fun (like I do, because, hello: nerd!) then this is the book for you. The only people who have issues with evolution don't really understand both the beautiful simplicity and complexity of it all. Let a master guide you. You'll do two of my favorite things: you'll learn something and have fun doing it.

9 comments:

Michael Taylor said...

Just listened to both the podcasts today. I didn't realize he was such a brilliant artist.

Jim said...

Michael,
That's what he was first. My understanding is that he came to this through his art.

Thanks,
Jim

Tricia said...

Okay, I don't mean to gloat, but I do have this book and it's my nonfiction review for next week. It's all kinds of awesome!

Ms. Yingling said...

Why am I not surprised that you are a fan of Skeptic? We are huge readers of the magazine in our house, even my mutant son who listens to right wing radio instead of NPR, like he should!

Jim said...

Tricia,

Ouch! I'm so glad you liked it and will be posting about it. I was worried this might breeze by the kidlitosphere since this doesn't come from an Am. publisher or and established children's author. Oh, and I already have tickets for a convention in the fall where I just know I'll meet him and get him to sign a copy, so I'll try not to gloat over that either!

Ms. Yingling,
Ah, Skeptic and NPR. If he's a right winger, maybe he likes Shermer's libertarianism. I just dont' get that but I like his skeptical stuff. I gotta say, I didn't really get into NPR until my post-college years, so there's still hope for the boy.

Thanks,
Jim

Michael Taylor said...

I too am predominantly libertarian (note lower case l, I differ too much from the goals of the party to call myself an upper-case Libertarian) but I think Shermer lets his politics get in the way of his skepticism too frequently.

Jim said...

Michael,

It's definitely a thing in skeptical circles. Penn & Teller, Brian Dunning, etc. I can see why since skeptics often question everything; questioning government makes sense. But they tend to lose sight of the good that government can do (of course, often government does too). I blame Ayn Rand. At least Shermer took a wonderfully balanced approach to her in his Why People Believe Weird Things book. I have sympathy with a few libertarian positions, but yeah, it can get in the way of some things if taken dogmatically (which goes for anything taken dogmatically, I guess).

Thanks,
Jim

Erin said...

Jim,

Would you be interested in receiving a copy of Evolution? It just so happens that I work for the publisher and it would be my pleasure to send you a copy. Just send me an email at ewinzer@kidscan.com

Best, Erin

Jim said...

Erin,

Would I ?!?