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Life Story [Paperback]

Virginia Lee Burton
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 11.99
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Book Description

Nov. 28 2009
Earth takes center stage in this updated version of Virginia Lee Burton’s 1962 classic Life Story. Told through five acts, Burton’s art and text tell the history of earth from beginning to present day. Readers will gain an in-depth understanding of the planet’s history and their leading roles in it today. The book has been updated with cutting-edge science, including up-to-the-minute information on fossil records and the geologic principles.

Frequently Bought Together

Life Story + Katy and the Big Snow + The Little House: Her Story
Price For All Three: CDN$ 30.18

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

"The drama of Life is a continuing story," says Burton in her epilogue; she amply demonstrates this in her magnificent description of the evolutionary process, with text and paintings presented as a five-act play. All ages.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"Beginning with the birth of the Sun and continuing through the Earth's creation, the emergence and evolution of animal life, up to the changing seasons of the present, it's a lyrical and informative journey."--Publishers Weekly

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Wonderful Book! Jan. 10 2004
By Rebecca
Format:Hardcover
My first-grade daughter has been fascinated by this book since she found the dog-eared 1962 copy in her school library last year. She's checked it out so many times that we're buying her a copy for her birthday.
It's not often you find a science book for kids that doesn't talk down to them, or leave out a lot of facts to make the book shorter or less wordy. This book has a lot of words, some of them big scientific words, but it is so elegantly written that my daughter has never lost interest. It begins with descriptions of the creation of the planet and solar system and follows the story of life on our planet through prehistoric times, to present day life on the author's farm. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful, very folk-art like, and very detailed. If your child is interested in dinosaurs, like my daughter is, this is a great book and will broaden their interest into other eras of prehistoric creatures.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Earth Science for Preschoolers! May 21 2000
Format:Hardcover
This book is absolutely fabulous! It reads extremely well to preschoolers and possibly younger children as well. Even though earth science has progressed since this book's first ptinting, it is still a great introduction to the concepts of space and time; Earth and the Universe; and mankind in Earth's history.
Also, the illustration's are beautiful! My 3yr. old is as fascinated by the pictures as he is by the story!
I read this book and "The Little House" when I was a child and it has been a wonderful experience to share these books with my son!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating tale of "you" Dec 11 2012
By A. Volk #1 REVIEWER #1 HALL OF FAME
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully illustrated story of "you" the reader from an evolutionary perspective. It starts off at the beginning of life and runs through the various evolutionary eras. From fish to amphibians to dinosaurs to prehistoric mammals to humans to farmers to modern dwellers, this book starts off as an evolutionary tour of humanity and ends with the reader at home with this book. It makes a fascinating tale for children (and adults) as it ties evolution directly to the reader. It is aimed at a North American audience (include settlers as part of the thread), but that's not a major issue. The illustrations are lush and creative. This is not a book for anatomical correctness. It's more about impressions of past animals, and it is really cool in that regard. I think this would make an excellent introduction to human evolution for children given it's gentle presentation of the science, the interest of the different eras, the uniqueness of the drawing style, and the fact that it ultimately brings it back home to the reader. A fun book worthy of five stars!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Wonderful Book! Jan. 10 2004
By Rebecca - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
My first-grade daughter has been fascinated by this book since she found the dog-eared 1962 copy in her school library last year. She's checked it out so many times that we're buying her a copy for her birthday.
It's not often you find a science book for kids that doesn't talk down to them, or leave out a lot of facts to make the book shorter or less wordy. This book has a lot of words, some of them big scientific words, but it is so elegantly written that my daughter has never lost interest. It begins with descriptions of the creation of the planet and solar system and follows the story of life on our planet through prehistoric times, to present day life on the author's farm. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful, very folk-art like, and very detailed. If your child is interested in dinosaurs, like my daughter is, this is a great book and will broaden their interest into other eras of prehistoric creatures.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earth Science for Preschoolers! May 21 2000
By mama loves electronics - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is absolutely fabulous! It reads extremely well to preschoolers and possibly younger children as well. Even though earth science has progressed since this book's first printing, it's still a great introduction some of the basic, foundational concepts in the study of: Space/Time; Earth and the Universe; Geology and Prehistoric Life Science.

Also, the illustration's are beautiful! My 3yr. old is as fascinated by the pictures as he is by the story!

I read this book and "The Little House" by Burton when I was a child and it has been a wonderful experience to share these books with my son!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dear Friend of Mine! Oct. 8 2005
By A. Drifter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a child this was my favorite book as well. I had it checked out of the school library so often I may as well have owned it. I was thrilled to recently find it still in print, and I ordered a copy for my kids -- and one for myself!

The artwork is incredible. There's something about the style of it that almost... psychedelic. There's a swirling flow to it, with orderly ribbons of plants and animals winding into the distance. Yet while highly stylized, the artwork at the same time offers a wonderful sense of realism. The swamps of the Carboniferous seem so dark and mysterious; the verdant forests at the opening of the Cenezoic Era are infused with the essence of life born anew. And the intricate borders around the "program" at the beginning remind one of the lovingly detailed borders one might find along the high ceiling of some Victorian-era museum.

Even after 40 years, the science behind the book holds up amazingly well. If you want to inspire a love of natural history in your children, get them this book!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Wonderful, Wonderful Book Dec 30 2009
By goonius - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was searching for a really good book about dinosaurs for my almost 4 year old daughter who has just developed an interest in prehistoric creatures, when I stumbled onto this book.

We own other titles by Burton, The Little House, Katy and the Big Snow, and Calico the Wonder Horse, and love them all. But I think this book is the best. Why? Because, for my daughter, who demands daily readings, it has cracked the world of science wide open, spurring question after question about everything from meteors to the different types of rock, volcanoes, weather, the solar system, and on and on. Using the format of an engaging story, Burton has managed to touch on each of these subjects, and more, and pack so much information into a mere 80-pages. But it's not just rote information, it is a story, it is a play, and it is presented in such an entertaining way that it paves the path for a young child begin a journey of discovery that is integral to a life-long love and understanding of natural history and of the composition of the world around them.

Burton's story begins 'eons and eons ago' when 'our sun was born.' Each page is laid out with the left side containing a one-paragraph description of the period of time being sampled. This is paired with a tri-color visual narrative of what is happening, be it a 5-sketch demonstration of lava erupting from the Earth's core or the evolutionary progression of invertebrate organisms, plants, or animals. The drawings create almost a (slow) motion picture to accompany the words. The left page is dedicated to a full-color scene, set behind a stage, complete with drawn-aside red velvet curtain, and a curious little man examining the different goings-on. He, too, becomes more modern as the story progresses.

Something that I love about the format of this book is that the book begins by capturing snapshots of different periods of time that are very far apart; the first two documented time periods are 560,000,000 years apart. Mid-way through the book, the scenes are only 3,200,000 apart, and finally, by the end of the book, time slows down to 100 years, then 25, then 15, then each of the four seasons, then it is slowed to days, hours, and finally the final dark minutes before the sun rises and a new dawn is upon us. Early on, as time slows, Burton introduces her family into the story, and you find that this is her life story. On the final pages, as the story she has to tell draws to a close, Burton turns the story over to you, the reader, because it is your life story too. That last poetic touch is so beautiful, so perfect, that it leaves me in awe of the woman who wrote this book.

I don't think that this book could have been written, presented, and illustrated better. Every part just 'fits.' The ending, I believe in time, will help my child to understand where she fits into this story, and perhaps she, as I do, will feel that warm swell of love toward our home, our Earth, and all the life that has walked upon it, and gratitude that she has a place among such a brilliant history.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not about science or evolution, it's about LIFE May 26 2010
By Daniel P. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A wonderful, wonderful book, indescribable, sui generis. We bought one to read to our son, he loved it, later we gave it away, bought another to read to our daughter, she loved it, later we gave it away, and now we have a grandchild who'll be ready for it in a few years so we bought another copy.

Ages 4 to 8? No, ages 4 to adult. I'm always teary-eyed by the time I read to the last page. The book is so sweet, so beautifully equipoised between art and science, between literal and stylized. This is not a book about earth sciences or evolution, it is about life itself and our place in time or space. It glides gracefully and effortlessly from astronomy to geology to biology to sociology to biography, from the story of life to the story of _a_ life. It has such a feeling of being an intergenerational _gift._

The marvelous illustrations have a genuine warmth and an impish humor. They don't have the overbearing solidity that the Disney animators gave to the "Rites of Spring" sequence in "Fantasia." They are approachable, unintimidating. It is true art to conceal art. They look like something a parent or a teacher or a child herself might draw--if those drawings actually came out the way the parent or teacher or child wanted them to.

When we asked about it at Porter Square Books in Cambridge we were thrilled when they said they had two copies in stock. Then everyone had trouble finding it. Because nobody knew what section it should be in, and my wife and I missed it because we were looking for a yellow cover and this edition is a light green.

(By the way, I'm not that big a fan of "Mike Mulligan and His Steamshovel;" the ending always seems creepy to me).

I can't tell for sure because we don't have a copy of the yellow edition, but I'm 90% sure that in the current edition, the reproduction doesn't do justice to the illustrations. I don't want to take off a star because it is still such a wonderful, wonderful book, but in our copy the pictures are just the slightest bit greyish and muddied. My recollection, perhaps inaccurate, is that in the older edition the pictures really had a lovely tonal range, giving an almost three-dimensional look, with the picture behind the stage "proscenium." So if the publisher reads this, I'm thrilled that it's still in print, but could you see if you can't tweak the picture reproduction a bit?
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