written by Lisa Westberg Peters published by Harcourt, 2003 ISBN 0-1520-1772-0
All of us are part of an old, old family. The roots of our family tree reach back millions of years to the beginning of life on earth. Open this family album and embark on an amazing journey. You’ll meet some of our oldest relatives--from both the land and the sea--and discover what we inherited from each of them along the many steps of our wondrous past. Complete with an illustrated timeline and glossary, here is the story of human evolution as it’s never been told before.
A Personal Note
My illustrations evolved from nearly two years of research done mostly at my local libraries. I purposely sought out heavily illustrated books to help me imagine what the first 3 1/2 billion years of life on earth might have looked like. I was fortunate to have an open invitation from Dr. Barbara O’Connell to come and sketch in her anthropology lab at Hamline University. Hundreds of sketches, storyboards, book dummies and a 4 X 20 foot timeline that went down our second floor hallway and halfway down the stairs were all necessary to better comprehend visually the evolution of our ancestors.
When I finally began painting the original paintings for Our Family Tree, I had memorized my research enough that it came from inside me. I felt as if I had taken walks through the Devonian swamps and across the arid landscape of Pangea. When I painted the dancing volcanoes, I knew I would be able to blend my personal vision with the scientific facts and still be accurate. I knew I had done my research well when I felt a deep connection to each of our ancestors and could picture in my mind where they lived, how they moved about, and what they ate.