Evolution by natural selection is not necessarily clear or intuitive. Evolution is not inherently obvious; it is a slow, complex process with many nuances. Whether stunted by a poor educational system or religious fundamentalists, it is a minor tragedy that one of the greatest scientific ideas in history remains the subject of dispute.
That is why books like Loxton's Evolution are important. This book is aimed at children and teens who want a solid understanding of evolution's fundamentals. Loxton has a lot of ground to cover, and he begins by noting that different fossils are found in different geological strata--a fact that suggested to early researchers that many now-extinct animals had once roamed the planet (and much longer ago than most people could imagine). Evolution goes on to touch on a wide variety of subjects related to evolution, from DNA to the alleged "living dinosaur" mokele-mbembe. Along the way, new concepts such as species and mutation are introduced, often in the form of posed questions. Charles Darwin's experiments are briefly described, including his research into avian inbreeding and the variations in beaks in isolated populations of Galapagos island finches. The elements of evolution are explained in terms that are neither dumbed-down nor too complex for its target audience.
Loxton, editor of Junior Skeptic, also shows off his considerable illustration skills. The book is clearly written for children, and eye-catching graphics are of course a necessity. Every page has one or more enticing, full-color images illustrating everything from dinosaurs to the bird-dinosaur Archaeopteryx to cute, flirty little zebra-like things called Zooks. This helps reinforce the important concept that evolution is not a stale, dry theory dusted off from irrelevant history or science books but instead a real, active process occurring all around us at this very moment. It's rare to find such an accessible, dynamic treatment of the subject of evolution.
Evolution also wisely anticipates and addresses some of the most common anti-evolution fallacies (such as that the eye is too complex to have evolved naturally). This feature alone makes the book better than other simplified descriptions of evolution because it inoculates readers against bogus creationist arguments they may hear but would be otherwise unable to answer. I hope that 150 years from now books on evolution, such as those by Richard Dawkins and Loxton, will be considered obsolete, a redundant parroting of basic facts that every schoolchild knows. Until then, the world is sorely in need of high-quality, accessible science and skeptical books for teens and children, and Loxton's book is an excellent and long-overdue introduction to evolution.