Life: The First Four Billion Years

From the author of Can we Save the Tiger?, Exploring Space, and the Kate Greenaway award-winning adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels, this book tells the story of the universe: how it began, how the Milky Way was formed and how Earth and the other planets that make up our galaxy came into being.

Life, The First Four Billion Years explains what life was like on Earth before humans arrived. It opens with a timeline of our history, tracing our ancestry back 1,800 million years. The history of the species that populated Earth is then explained: from single cell organisms around 3.7 billion years ago to the fish that first ventured onto land 395 million years ago, through to the age of the dinosaurs and to species and animals still alive today.

The book is an incredibly detailed scientific account of the universe’s history and the evolution of the world’s animals presented in a clear and easy to follow format. Baker-Smith’s vibrant illustrations – which often span multiple pages – of scientific phenomena and extinct species bring the information provided by Jenkins to life.

Jenkins makes clear to the reader how much of the universe’s and of Earth’s history is still unknown; for example, what exactly caused the Earth to heat up after the First and Second Ice Ages, which lasted millions of years, remains uncertain. The story of the universe is not quite complete, and this book emphasises how much there is still to discover. Life is an informative and curiosity-piquing book which readers interested in physics, evolution, and the history of our planet will certainly enjoy.