Shreeve anchors this chronicle of the development of life on Earth with an opening question: Among hippos, dolphins, and sharks, which two are the closest relatives?. . . Increasingly complex creatures fill subsequent pages. Along the bottom margin runs a general time framework beginning with the Archaeon Eon and moving quickly through time. . . Preston-Gannon’s cheerful, colorful illustrations show an astonishing variety of creatures, all with circular, white-outlined black eyes. The total package is simple and effective.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
This title explains how life began in the ocean, with surprising information, descriptive details, engaging illustrations, and page turns that propel readers forward. Shreeve and Preston-Gannon offer an interactive reading experience. . . . Throughout the book, the illustrations support and enhance the writing. . . . As the events of the narrative chronicle life and death both in the ocean and on the land, readers can begin to understand the joyous, wondrous, frightening complexity of the creation of life. A book to be read over and over for its intriguing story, illustrations, and captions.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Shreeve adeptly communicates high-level scientific concepts in just a few paragraphs per page as she highlights key events in the transition from sea to land. . . Preston-Gannon’s use of color in the friendly illustrations skillfully represents the climatic conditions in each major era: bright, multicolored spreads of tropical seas filled with animals represent periods of species growth and are interspersed with less hospitable, barren landscapes.
—The Horn Book
This short book guides the reader from the beginnings of life eons ago through to the present day, beginning with an Earth devoid of life and following water-dwelling, single-celled creatures that develop and change as they move “out of the blue” and onto land. The text explains the adaptations that were necessary for animals to live out of the water, as well as how some animals survived (and how others didn’t) during the several extinction events that Earth has suffered.
—School Library Connection