Readers interested in mythology and paleontology will be intrigued.

READ REVIEW

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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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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Uneven pacing and clunky writing undermine this examination of trauma and PTSD.

IF WE WERE GIANTS

Matthews, of the Dave Matthews Band, and co-author Smith offer a fantasy that explores the damage done by violence inflicted by one people against another.

Ten-year-old Kirra lives in an idyllic community hidden for generations inside a dormant volcano. When she and her little brother make unwise choices that help bring the violent, spindly, gray-skinned Takers to her community—with devastating results—Kirra feels responsible and leaves the volcano. Four years later, Kirra’s been adopted into a family of Tree Folk that live in the forest canopy. Though there are many Tree Folk, individual families care for their own and are politely distant from others. Kirra, suffering from (unnamed) PTSD, evades her traumatic memories by avoiding what she calls “Memory Traps,” but when the Takers arrive in the forest, she must face her trauma and attempt to make a community of the Tree Folk if they’re to survive. Although Kirra’s struggles through trauma are presented with sympathy and realistically rendered, some characters’ choices are so patently foolish they baldly read like the plot devices they are. Additionally, much preparation goes into one line of defense while other obvious factors are completely ignored, further pushing the story’s credibility. Kirra is brown skinned, as is her first family; Tree Folk appear not to be racially homogenous; and the Takers are all gray skinned.

Uneven pacing and clunky writing undermine this examination of trauma and PTSD. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4847-7871-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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