Welcome to our Anniversary Blog by resident blogger Jake Hope. Jake will be reading and reviewing all of the past CILIP Carnegie Medal winning books during the anniversary year. We are also asking shadowers to "Adopt a Book" and join in reading and discussing the anniversary titles in their shadowing groups.
"Man now stands alone indeed, on a pinnacle of his own contriving, from which it would be only too easy for him to fall."
A detailed exploration of the genetic inheritance and the evolutionary background of man as a species made for a distinctive, unusual and challenging CILIP Carnegie Medal winner in 1960. Beginning by focussing on species that formed our genetic ancestors, the book comprehensively overviews small mammals like lemurs, monkeys and apes, looking at the evolutionary shifts towards the development of the species.
Through comparisons of skull types, it further traces the anatomical distinctions – jawbones, brain cavity, placement of eye sockets and forehead - of homo sapiens from its forebearers. Academic and, at times convoluted in tone and content, the book covers a fascinating subject, but seems to hold little awareness as to how to make complex ideas and concepts accessible and engaging for ley-readers.
As much a curio for the era of its winning the award and for comments this makes upon young readers, their tastes and interest, this most definitely feels a product of its time and one that is likely dated by more current research and understanding.