galapagos george


Galapagos George is the last saddleback tortoise. He lived on the Galapagos Islands for 100 years, dying in 2012. This story traces the journey of his ancestor, Giantess George, who came to the Galapagos in a storm. Maps and detailed illustrations show how the species adapted to their new environment before finally becoming extinct.

Educational Themes:

The book introduces a number of science- and geography-based topics. Species evolution and extinction are primary, and the book can open discussions about human and nonhuman impact on animal species and living environments. Drawing out those themes can lead to more in-depth conversations about ecology, conservation, and climate change.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
5 to 10
Age of child:
Read with children ages 4 and 6. Also: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ Reviewer Age: 17
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow. IT is a great introduction to evolution and climate change for children. Even after reading it many times, my kids struggled to make sense of it. I wouldn't buy it.
Little Kid Reaction

My children were a little confused by the timeline because it covers millions of years. Even so, they enjoyed it and asked to read it again.

Parent Reaction

I liked the book because it helped introduce evolution to my children and we got to talk about it for awhile. I was surprised how much my kids enjoyed it even though they couldn't quite follow the timeline and distances.

Young Reader Reaction

What I enjoyed most is the way the author described the evolution of this interesting and gentle giant in a chronological way. Galapagos George inspires those interested in preserving endangered species because it explains how a species actually became extinct as a result of humans not respecting how nature and humanity can coexist.  The factual information and research about the species' evolution is also wonderful. There is a lot information including key terms, timelines, and resources at the end.

Galapagos George is beautifully illustrated and shows the tortoises in their habitat accurately. Even though the book is recommended for young children (4 to 8), anyone interested in turtles/tortoises; exploring rare environments; or learning about respecting nature and protecting endangered species will find this book great reading.


There is a lot to explore in Galapagos George: evolution, extinction of dinosaurs and other species, as well as global warming, ecology, and rising oceans. There is plenty to interest children.


I think the story path is a bit muddled and confusing. One illustration of a tortoise's head offended me because it was so phallic; my son (6) pointed it out to me.

Title Galapagos George
Author Jean Craighead George
Publisher HarperCollins © 2014
Illustrators Wendell Minor
ISBN 0060287934
Material Hard Cover
Cost $15.99
Genres Science, Animals (Nonfiction), Dinosaurs, Ecology
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