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. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021


A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023


Sure to have readers booking their own trips to catch the next brief but memorable solar eclipse.

A total solar eclipse brings a father and son closer together.

After learning in school about the eclipse’s impending arrival, a curious young boy excitedly figures out the best time and place to see it. His father agrees to transport him to the woods to view the eclipse, and the child describes everything that happens at various points—two months before the eclipse, then a month, a week, a day, an hour, a minute, and the exciting second before the sun slips behind the moon. Time seems to stand still, and the creatures in the woods are baffled by what appears to be an early nightfall. Then the countdown begins again, with the boy describing what happens after the eclipse—one second, one minute, one hour, one day, one year, and even longer. The moment has become a shared memory that enhances the bond between father and son and inspires future eclipse-chasing expeditions. Based on the author’s actual experience with his own son in 2017, this picture book features lively, child-friendly digital artwork filled with scenes of nature, matter-of-fact text that acknowledges the awesomeness of this rare phenomenon, and useful maps that chart the solar eclipse of 2017 and projected paths for future eclipses. Father and son are light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sure to have readers booking their own trips to catch the next brief but memorable solar eclipse. (more information on eclipses) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781338608823

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2023

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