A lively portrayal of an outstanding 19th-century woman and her contributions to the study of paleontology.



This biography of paleontologist Mary Anning spends most of its time in her childhood.

Concise, energetic text and appealing cartoon-style illustrations tell the story of Mary Anning, amateur paleontologist and fossil hunter. At age 13, Mary found what she thought of as dragon bones and is now credited with unearthing the large, fossilized skeleton of an ichthyosaur (literally, “fish lizard”). Throughout her life on the cliffs surrounding Lyme Regis, England, Anning discovered many other fossils, including the bones of a plesiosaur. Though the pictures indicate that the book takes place in the past, the exact time period is not specified. Some explicit discussion of women’s roles and rights would likely have highlighted how unusual Mary and her discoveries were, though the story does note that wealthy men purchased and took credit for much of what she found. Despite the lack of context, this is an engaging, accessible portrayal. Young scientists, treasure hunters, and dinosaur lovers will be inspired by this dramatic tale of imagination, dedication, and resilience while learning about science and the thrill of fossil hunting. The informative endnotes include further details about Mary and the legend that surrounds her memory, a page on how to become a paleontologist, and facts about the creatures she found in the cliffs. Mary and her family were White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A lively portrayal of an outstanding 19th-century woman and her contributions to the study of paleontology. (selected bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-14021-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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Despite minor bumps, a ride that’s worth returning to.


Pearl and her robot, Pascal, take their coding skills for a spin at the amusement park in this Girls Who Code picture book, a follow-up to How To Code a Sandcastle (2018).

The park has many rides to choose from, and Pearl has 10 tokens to last her the day. But her favorite ride, the Python roller coaster, looks busy. Pearl decides to do something else fun, using code concepts such as variables to keep track of the length of the line and her remaining tokens and a conditional statement to decide when to return to the Python. Throughout, computer science terms are defined crisply in the text and vividly illustrated in the pictures, which use images such as popcorn bags for variables and the Ferris wheel for loops (keeping track of ice cream flavors seems somewhat contrived). The backmatter explains these ideas more fully. Pascal’s too-literal interpretations of Pearl’s statements make for several amusing moments along the way. When Pearl runs short of tokens (a missed opportunity to talk about checking for more than one condition?), she’s undaunted by the disaster, taking readers on a fun hunt for a secret hidden password, in a nod to the importance of proper sequencing. Pearl has brown skin and black curls; others at the park have a variety of skin tones.

Despite minor bumps, a ride that’s worth returning to. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-425-29203-7

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.


Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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