Many fans of Grandmother Fish have asked me whether Karen and I would do another kid-friendly, science-loving project on Kickstarter, and the answer is Yes! In January, we’ll launch a Kickstarter for “Clades,” an evolution-themed card game for kids and adults. In biology, a clade is an ancestral population and all the organisms descended from it. “Mammal,” for example, is the clade of all animals descended from the earliest mammals. To write Grandmother Fish, I had to learn about clades, and the concept excited me so much that I’ve created a game based on it. For years I’ve tried to figure out how I could do a game that gets evolution right, and in August an answer finally came to me. “Clades” is a smart card with a proven play style, and it’s easy to adjust for children or beginners.
Edit: Click here for a preview of card faces, and more about the Clades game and evolution games in general.
Amazon has over 100 copies, but as of Oct 30 they’re in transit between fulfillment centers. I’m am shipping them the last of the first edition, except for some cases held back for special purposes. I’m also looking for brick-and-mortar stores that would each like to order a case. If you know a great store that would like to carry the book, have them contact me: jonathan (at) grandmother fish (dot) com.
Grandmother Fish is the first book to teach evolution to preschoolers, and you can order it now.
Grandmother Fish is a full-color, 32-page, hardcover book, written by game designer Jonathan Tweet and illustrated by Karen Lewis, a children’s science illustrator.
You can see little children reacting to having the book read to them for the first time. Take a look at this video of three parents reading an early draft of the book to their children.
Please keep in touch with us by Liking our page on Facebook. Our page includes lots of behind-the-scenes posts about evolution and the process of creating Grandmother Fish.
You can download the free PDF edition of the book here. [PDF no longer available]
For more information about Grandmother Fish, see our About page. To see what others are saying, see our Reviews page.
Our Kickstarter campaign started June 23rd and we funded on the 25th. Daniel Dennett, David Sloan Wilson, Daniel Loxton, Tiffany Taylor, Monte Cook, and others got behind the campaign, and we hit the top of Kickstarter’s popularity list for publishing. As the campaign continues, we’ll gather the resources to do a better book. Our first stretch goal is to add a full-color, two-page spread that shows our evolutionary family trees with all five grandmothers and all the cousins, too. That will be our stretch goal for $20,000.
The video for Kickstarter is almost done. Keith Hitchcock of Hocus Focus Media made us look really good. Everything came together, and we ended up with the cutest video ever for a children’s book of evolution. Click the image to see for yourself. It’s not final, but really close. The Kickstarter campaign starts June 23rd, and this video has me feeling really good about it.
The story of Grandmother Fish is simplified for preschoolers, so the science notes for parents in the back have to be rigorous. Fortunately, I’m getting help from the National Center for Science Education. These people are serious about teaching evolution and climate change. Eric Meikle is helping me personally, and he recently gave me a welcome point-by-point critique of my endnotes. The next version of the draft will include updated information thanks to him. He and I spent extra time trying to get the paragraph below just right. This is the paragraph in the back that helps parents talk to their children about the “grab” motion that Grandmother Ape was good at. Talking about “feet” and “hands” gets tricky when you’re talking about primates, humans in particular. Our ancestors’ limbs have been specialized first for swimming, then crawling, and then climbing. Now our hind limbs are specialized for walking while our forelimbs are specialized for grabbing. It might sound minor, but I want to help children understand how special human feet are. Here’s the paragraph that Eric and I worked out.
Our early primate ancestors’ paws evolved into four “hands” that helped them climb and live in trees. In humans, our rear “hands” have evolved into stable feet specialized for walking and running on the ground. They are a new kind of foot, unlike the feet of any other animal.
Lamarck is famous for being wrong about how evolution worked, but he was right about one thing: humans evolved from “four-handed” animals. Two hundred years ago, his contemporaries jeered at him for his bold claim, but today it’s time for preschoolers to learn that he was right all along.