DINOSAUR LADY

A sturdy portrayal of Victorian scientist Mary Anning that showcases her accomplishments, intelligence, and perseverance.

A new picture-book biography of the pioneering scientist and finder of bones.

Armed with both a hammer and chisel and a spirit of inquiry, young Mary Anning searched the beach and cliffs of Lyme Regis, England, eventually unearthing the bones of an enormous, heretofore-unknown creature. Action-filled illustrations and straightforward text allow Anning’s determination to shine through and show how her knowledge as well as the fossils she found were initially dismissed because of the sexism of the time yet nevertheless led to the study of fossils, the invention of paleontology, the understanding that animals could become extinct, and the discovery of dinosaurs. Though her financial struggles as a white woman of the time are made evident, portions of her story, including the facts that she was struck by lightning as a baby and that her father died when she was around 11, go unmentioned before the informative backmatter, which seems a lost opportunity. Readers likely to ask questions—her age when she made various discoveries, why she began searching the cliffs, the specific time period in which she lived—will have to wait for the timeline and author’s note. (An additional spread offers a smattering of paleontology facts.) Still, Anning is clearly a worthy subject, and this tale of her accomplishments is sure to elicit excitement and curiosity.

A sturdy portrayal of Victorian scientist Mary Anning that showcases her accomplishments, intelligence, and perseverance. (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-0951-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

BASKETBALL DREAMS

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

I AM RUTH BADER GINSBURG

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

Quick and slick, but ably makes its case.

The distinguished jurist stands tall as a role model.

Not literally tall, of course—not only was she actually tiny but, as with all the other bobbleheaded caricatures in the “Ordinary People Change the World” series, Ginsburg, sporting huge eyeglasses on an outsize head over black judicial robes even in childhood, remains a doll-like figure in all of Eliopoulos’ cartoon scenes. It’s in the frank acknowledgment of the sexism and antisemitism she resolutely overcame as she went from reading about “real female heroes” to becoming one—and also the clear statement of how she so brilliantly applied the principle of “tikkun olam” (“repairing the world”) in her career to the notion that women and men should have the same legal rights—that her stature comes clear. For all the brevity of his profile, Meltzer spares some attention for her private life, too (“This is Marty. He loved me, and he loved my brains. So I married him!”). Other judicial activists of the past and present, all identified and including the current crop of female Supreme Court justices, line up with a diversely hued and abled group of younger followers to pay tribute in final scenes. “Fight for the things you care about,” as a typically savvy final quote has it, “but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

Quick and slick, but ably makes its case. (timeline, photos, source list, further reading) (Picture-book biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2024

ISBN: 9780593533338

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Rocky Pond Books/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

Close Quickview