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Children's Fiction Girls & Women

Etty Darwin and the Four Pebble Problem

by (author) Lauren Soloy

Initial publish date
May 2021
Girls & Women, General, European
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 8
  • Grade: p to 3


Etty Darwin and her famous father go for a walk to ponder life, science . . . and fairies! Inspired by the real-life daughter of Charles Darwin.

Etty loves make-believe.
Her dad loves science.
Etty believes in fairies.
Her dad would need to see some proof that they exist.
But they both love nature, conversation and each other.

A gorgeous rumination on belief and imagination featuring Henrietta (Etty) Darwin and her famous father, Charles. Etty went on to become a valued and keen editor of Charles's work and a thoughtful and intellectual being in her own right. This imagined conversation between Etty and Charles as they stroll around Charles's real-life "thinking track" explores their close relationship and shows that even science is nothing without an open mind and imagination.

About the author


  • Nominated, Doug Wright Award for Best Book

Contributor Notes

LAUREN SOLOY has lived on both coasts of Canada, always within reach of the sea. She has a Visual Arts B.F.A. with Honours from the University of Victoria, and a certificate of Fine Furniture from Camosun College. Along the way, she has learned to make a Queen Anne Highboy, a pottery mug, a hand knit pair of socks, a headstand and a mess. She lives in a 140-year-old house in the wilds of Nova Scotia with her librarian husband, two curious children, an ever-expanding collection of books, two hives of bees and one cat. Her first book, When Emily Was Small, was called "an altogether mystical yet accessibly grounded story" in a Kirkus starred review.

Editorial Reviews

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
One of Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens, Fall 2021 — Starred Pick

"An excellent introduction to the natural sciences, Darwin, fairies, and inquiry, sure to inspire and fascinate young readers and listeners." —STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews
"Soloy’s historical-fiction picture book makes room for both science and make-believe. But at its core, it’s all about a special relationship, wonderfully humanizing the father of evolutionary theory who prized his daughter’s thoughts and gave her musings ‘space to fly.’" The Horn Book

"A sweet story of father and child discovery." —School Library Journal

"Etty Darwin and the Four Pebble Problem is a lovely book . . . [with] important lessons for any young STEM reader about science, knowledge, and any intellectual pursuit." —CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Lauren Soloy shows us such tenderness in this authentic relationship between father and daughter.” —Library Matters

"The bond between a caring and empathetic father and an imaginative little girl is at the center of this deeply reassuring story." —Imaginary Elevators

Other titles by Lauren Soloy