THE GRIFFIN AND THE DINOSAUR

HOW ADRIENNE MAYOR DISCOVERED A FASCINATING LINK BETWEEN MYTH AND SCIENCE

Readers interested in mythology and paleontology will be intrigued.

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. 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

MUSIC FOR TIGERS

A beautiful conservation story told in a rich setting and peopled with memorable characters.

Unlike the rest of her nature-obsessed family, Louisa wants to be a musician, not a biologist.

But when Louisa’s mother finds out that the Australian government is about to destroy the Tasmanian rainforest camp their family has managed for decades, she insists that Louisa leave Toronto and spend the summer on the strange, small island with her even stranger uncle Ruff. But when Uncle Ruff gives Louisa a copy of her great-grandmother’s journal, Louisa becomes fascinated with her family’s history of secretly protecting endangered species, including the mysterious Tasmanian tiger, widely regarded as extinct. With the help of her new friend and neighbor Colin—a boy who has autism spectrum disorder—Louisa deepens her connection with her family’s land, with history, and with her love of music. Kadarusman masterfully creates a lush, magical world where issues associated with conservation, neurodiversity, and history intersect in surprising and authentic ways. The book’s small cast of characters (principals seem all White) is well drawn and endearing. Crucially, the author acknowledges the original, Indigenous inhabitants of the land as experts, something rarely seen in books about environmental degradation. Louisa’s narratorial voice strikes the right balance of curiosity, timidity, and growing confidence, and her character’s transformation feels both incredibly natural and incredibly rewarding to behold.

A beautiful conservation story told in a rich setting and peopled with memorable characters. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77278-054-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

THE EXACT LOCATION OF HOME

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

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. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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