Readers interested in mythology and paleontology will be intrigued.

THE GRIFFIN AND THE DINOSAUR

HOW ADRIENNE MAYOR DISCOVERED A FASCINATING LINK BETWEEN MYTH AND SCIENCE

Researchers have used fossils to understand much about the prehistoric world, but this work shows how a passionate woman with a curious mind studies them to understand how early peoples devised their myths and legends.

Mayor’s family heritage includes both a knack for storytelling and an interest in the natural world. She developed a love for the myths and legends of Greece and Rome, and her curiosity about the origins of the legendary part-lion, part-eagle griffin led her to seek answers. “[W]hat creature with four legs and a beak like a bird could have been so real to Greeks thousands of years ago?” Her search for fossils that could have inspired such an image led her to sites throughout Greece, ancient texts and even CIA maps of Central Asia. By following a series of clues, Mayor was able to connect the griffin image to fossil remnants of Protoceratops, making the case that ancient civilizations based their stories and legends on what they observed in the natural world. Supporting his text with Muller’s illustrations and copious photographs, Aronson reveals Mayor’s story as she searches for answers, demonstrating how one woman’s curiosity and determination provided a new view of the origins of some of our oldest stories. The excellent list of suggestions for further reading will encourage readers to dig deeper on their own.

Readers interested in mythology and paleontology will be intrigued. (glossary/index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4263-1108-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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With plenty of thrills, friendship, some humor, intrigue and an easy good-guys/bad-guys escape plot, young readers will find...

WAKE UP MISSING

Six middle schoolers + mad scientists + Everglades = adventure.

Cat, along with five other children who have suffered head injuries, goes to what is billed as the pre-eminent neurological center in the world, the International Center for Advanced Neurology, located in the Everglades. At first, she receives excellent care, but she soon overhears an ominous conversation that leads to her discovery of the awful truth: The terrible Dr. Ames and his colleague intend to implant the children with the DNA of long-dead scientists, including Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Marie Curie and even Leonardo da Vinci. Worse, they learn that Trent, who has already received a transplant, has virtually become Thomas Edison. Trent not only has Edison’s DNA, he has Edison’s century-old memories and speech patterns. Cat and her friends seize an opportunity to escape, relying on Trent’s technical expertise and “inherited” memory to evade the bad guys. As she outlines in her author’s note, Messner follows good science in her descriptions of head-injury treatment; she also gives teachers opportunities to explore the differences between hereditary and acquired characteristics in her more fictional genetic “science.” Her characterizations are solid and age-appropriate; Trent, as young Thomas Edison still avidly working on alternating currents, supplies some laughs.

With plenty of thrills, friendship, some humor, intrigue and an easy good-guys/bad-guys escape plot, young readers will find lots of fun here. (Science fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8027-2314-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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Middle school worries and social issues skillfully woven into a moving, hopeful, STEM-related tale.

THE EXACT LOCATION OF HOME

Following the precise coordinates of geocaching doesn’t yield the treasure Kirby Zagonski Jr. seeks: his missing father.

Geeky eighth-grader Kirby can’t understand why his mother won’t call his dad after their generous landlady dies and they’re evicted for nonpayment of rent. Though his parents have been divorced for several years and his father, a wealthy developer, has been unreliable, Kirby is sure he could help. Instead he and his mother move to the Community Hospitality Center, a place “for the poor. The unfortunate. The homeless.” Suddenly A-student Kirby doesn’t have a quiet place to do his schoolwork or even a working pencil. They share a “family room” with a mother and young son fleeing abuse. Trying to hide this from his best friends, Gianna and Ruby, is a struggle, especially as they spend after-school hours together. The girls help him look for the geocaches visited by “Senior Searcher,” a geocacher Kirby is sure is his father. There are ordinary eighth-grade complications in this contemporary friendship tale, too; Gianna just might be a girlfriend, and there’s a dance coming up. Kirby’s first-person voice is authentic, his friends believable, and the adults both sometimes helpful and sometimes unthinkingly cruel. The setting is the largely white state of Vermont, but the circumstances could be anywhere.

Middle school worries and social issues skillfully woven into a moving, hopeful, STEM-related tale. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68119-548-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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