One Iguana, Two Iguanas – PPBF and World Wildlife Day 2019

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World Wildlife Day is this Sunday, March 3rd, 2019. And I have selected a more unusual non-fiction picture book to celebrate this event.

Title:  One Iguana, Two Iguanas – A Story of Accident, Natural Selection, and Evolution (part of the How Nature Works Series)

Author: Sneed B. Collard III

Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers, 2019

Ages: 7-11+

Themes: natural selection, evolution, accidents, Galapagos Islands, Charles Darwin, iguanas, science

Genre: non-fiction


Six hundred miles (1,000 km) off the coast of South America, almost exactly on Earth’s equator, a charcoal-colored lizard sits on a ashore of jagged lava rocks. The lizard is a marine iguana, and with its dark skin and bumpy head, it looks like it could have been carved from lava itself.


Natural selection and speciation are all but ignored in children’s nonfiction. To help address this glaring deficiency, award-winning children’s science writer Sneed Collard traveled to the Galapagos Islands to see for himself, where Charles Darwin saw, how new species form. The result is this fascinating story of two species of iguana, one land-based and one marine, both of which developed from a single ancestor that reached the islands millions of years ago. The animals evolved in different directions while living within sight of one another. How is that possible?  

Why I like this book:

The Galapagos Islands are hosts to many types of lizards and other flora and fauna. It is on my bucket list to see, not only for the wildlife but because of its Darwinian fame. It is a fascinating place. This text takes a challenging subject that some adults struggle to comprehend and breaks it down into simple, sequential bit-sized chunks of information. It is a fun, fascinating and educational read. I honestly would also use this in a middle school classroom to introduce the important topic. The author notes at the end that some information is still missing to scientists, but this is from the best knowledge that scientists have gathered and researched about natural selection, adaptation and evolution

Reptile-loving kids will particularly enjoy the historical beginning of lizards and their habitats. The photography is stunning, of not just lizards but birds, crabs, turtles and various types of vegetation. This is a stellar addition to your science shelves and fills a much needed gap. (See what I did there? J)


Parents and teachers will want to use this succinct tool to teach science, natural selection, evolution and adaptation to their children. The back of the book contains a glossary, and more information about Darwin and evolution with additional sources for further study.

Pair this with the fiction book, Galapagos George

Some helpful lesson plans for teaching evolution to elementary students

The evolution institute discusses the rationale behind teaching evolution to this age group.

ThoughtCo has five classroom activities that demonstrate the theory of evolution.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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6 Responses to One Iguana, Two Iguanas – PPBF and World Wildlife Day 2019

  1. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    Oh, this sounds fascinating. I think I might learn a thing or two along with the kids. AND it might end up serving as a mentor text for one of my NF MSS. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Joanna says:

    Oo, now I am wondering what you are writing?!

  3. Patricia Nozell says:

    So glad that I’m catching up today! This book looks fascinating. The Galapagos Islands are definitely on my bucket list, too. I’ll be on the lookout for this!

  4. How did I miss your post! There will be a lot of kids who will devour this book on reptiles. It’s taken me years to warm up to lizards. Then I went to Brazil, and lived with them in my room — had no choice but to make my peace. I’d enjoy this book!

  5. This sounds like a great book! The Galapagos are on my bucket list as well. I’d enjoy seeing the various lizards, but I really want to see the various birds. I’ll examine this book as a b-day gift for my nephew. Thanks!

  6. sounds like a great book – on my “to read” list

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