Fifth grader Ronnie is invited by Ms. Lernin to visit the local aquarium. This eventually leads to the use of a garbage can as a time tunnel via science magic to the Cambrian period about 500 million years ago. As the two characters visit successive parts of the Paleozoic Era, they explore the animal and plant life that exists in the oceans and the beginning of plant and animal life on the land which is initially barren and desert-like.

Why should I read this book?

As with the other books by the same author, there are numerous images of animals from this time period and different biological features such as gills, lungs, and legs are discussed in relation to later evolutionary processes. There is a review quiz on page 118 with color-coded answers on page 120. A three-page glossary completes the book.

Who is this book best for?

Enrichment for curious students (particularly 5th grade students who may see themselves in Ronnie); perhaps deeper background for middle school biology teachers.

Challenge Rating: Potential Challenge

Evolution in general with some references to human evolution

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