Moth Evolution Story

Word Wednesday: ‘Moth: An Evolution Story’

Books Reviews Word Wednesday

Moth Evolution StoryThis week’s word is “Evolution.”

Here at GeekDad we do love a picture book. If it can be entertaining and educational, then so much the better. Moth: An Evolution Story by Isabel Thomas and Daniel Egnéus most definitely falls into this category.

What is Moth: An Evolution Story?

“This is a story of light and dark. Of change and adaptation, of survival and hope.”

The moths in question are Peppered Moths, found across the globe and in elementary biology classes everywhere, because of their helpfulness at teaching evolution.

The Peppered Moth story fits beautifully into a children’s book narrative. This grey/black/white speckled moth stays mostly pale because the white ones survive better. As the sky’s become darker and the air dirtier, so the black ones become more prevalent. As humanity understands pollution and tries to clean up the air, once again white peppered moths rise to the ascendancy. It’s a story of triumph and adaptability.

Moth does contain hard realities too. The first black moths in the story do get eaten in the story, but this introduces the importance of ecosystems. Some moths die so that other birds and animals may survive. All the while, the Peppered Moth is doing its best to ensure its own survival. Moth is a multi-generational fairy-tale based on hard science.

Finally, at the back of the book, there is a more detailed “grown-up” version of the story of evolution and the Peppered Moth.

Why Read Moth?

Because it introduces the idea of evolution in a simple to understand fashion, backing it up with beautiful illustrations to cement the story and concepts in young minds.

The artwork in this book is excellent. Lovely paper-cut style moths and buildings sit over broad-brushstroke backgrounds. The illustrations fit the story perfectly, particularly the dark grimy years of the industrial revolution, with its black belching steam trains and guttering smokestacks. I love the generations of moths spiraling across the pages too.

Moth introduces concepts such as the life cycle, ecosystems, pollution, and heredity and it does so using simple accessible language. It ends with a message of hope for those living in “dark times” which is both comforting and a little sad. After so many years of human evolution, we still don’t seem to be able to avoid creating “dark times” for ourselves and the rest of the planet.

As with most picture books, there are just a few lines of text on a page. The text often has a gentle rhyming cadence, though it does not rhyme throughout. The simple text complements the striking illustrations making for an excellent package that will introduce the concept of evolution for ages 4 upwards.

If you enjoyed this week’s review, do check out my other Word Wednesday posts.

You can buy Moth: An Evolution Story here, in the US and here, in the UK.

Moth Evolution Story
A black Peppered Moth. Photo: Olaf Leillinger

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in order to write this review. 


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