Stay Bricky! 'Darwin's Dragons' is a gripping, wild ride of a children's historical fiction book. With a distinctive 19th century boy's voice and an exciting mix of science and myth, this is a fantastic story to escape into.
It's 1835 and renowned scientist Charles Darwin is on his famous voyage to the Galapagos Islands. He's there to study different species in the hope of forming a new groundbreaking theory about life. But when a huge storm plunges the crew into the sea, cabin boy Syms Covington is washed up onto an isolated island, stranded. And from its volcanic centre, something emerges from the island that could change science and Syms' life forever...
From the introduction to Darwin to the horrendous storm to Sym's astonishing survival on the volcanic island with a deadly beast (wink, wink), this story grips from the outset. The combination of a cabin boy's 19th century vernacular with the immediate 'Robinson Crusoe' danger is truly absorbing. Lindsay Galvin writes beautifully, dramatically and authentically. Reality, science, pervades, and is the lens in which we experience the discovery of dragons. I thought it was really daring of Galvin to play with history and to fill in the gaps of a scientific expedition - and it works brilliantly! The reactions from Darwin feel true and the introduction of another famous 19th century figure towards the end adds to the sense of historical fun. It's also a fabulous gateway for children to find out more about Darwin and his theories, and Galvin carefully ensures this is included without diluting the main story.
The end of the story is beautiful and also took me by surprise with its sudden shift in perspective. But it makes sense. This is a story about how we all evolve, adapt, to life's great mysteries, whether you're a boy, a girl, scientist or dragon. 'Darwin's Dragons' is different, daring and dramatic. What more could you want?