Moth: An Evolution Story by Isabel Thomas and Daniel Egnéus


Moth: An Evolution Story begins as it ends with this sentence:

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

When a book ends as it begins, it gives the reader a sense that the story continues to evolve when the book is closed. Author Isabel Thomas uses a circular story format to inform readers that the peppered moth is still evolving. It continues to change and adapt to survive.

The evolution of the peppered moth is quite fascinating, and Thomas does a great job telling it to young readers. The light peppered moth survived for many years by blending in trees covered with lichen. When the Industrial Revolution pumped smoke and soot into the air, light peppered moths stood out to predators, while the dark peppered moths stayed safe in the polluted environment.

Now that Earth-conscious businesses are making the air better, the peppered moth must change and adapt again. The moth’s story is circular as it continues to evolve in order to survive.

Readers are going to love Daniel Egnéus’s illustrations. He uses different art mediums to enrich story of the peppered moth. Readers will find illustrations created with crayons, collage, Photoshop, acrylics and watercolor. The reflective elements on the book cover will have everyone wanting to hold the book up to the light to see the moths sparkle.

The text adds playful drama to the story. Some words curve around tree branches to express flight while others stagger to show the passage of time. The text and illustrations work well together to tell the tale of the peppered moth.

Curious readers will appreciate the information at the back of the book that adds meaning to concepts introduced in the book. Readers will learn more about evolution, natural selection and adaption.

Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Explore/Grow V.D.2 Learners develop through experience and
reflection by
recognizing capabilities and skills that can be developed, improved, and expanded.

We live in a world that is always changing, and we adapt to carry on. COVID-19 is presenting us with a front row seat to this reality. The idea of “school” changed overnight because of the virus. All readers can connect with this experience, but their stories are different.

After reading Moth, ask learners to think about what changed for them when schools closed and they had to learn from home. Ask the following questions:

  • How did you adapt to learning from home?
  • What went well? What didn’t go so well? How did you change and adapt to make it better?
  • How did you stay motivated to learn?

See how the New York City School Library System adapted their roles to accommodate online learning with a table showing online vs. face-to-face support: Translation of Practice for School Librarians

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Cover of Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades by Maureen Schlosser and Rebecca Granatini.
If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included.

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