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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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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A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again.


From the Cece and the Scientific Method series

Cece loves asking “why” and “what if.”

Her parents encourage her, as does her science teacher, Ms. Curie (a wink to adult readers). When Cece and her best friend, Isaac, pair up for a science project, they choose zoology, brainstorming questions they might research. They decide to investigate whether dogs eat vegetables, using Cece’s schnauzer, Einstein, and the next day they head to Cece’s lab (inside her treehouse). Wearing white lab coats, the two observe their subject and then offer him different kinds of vegetables, alone and with toppings. Cece is discouraged when Einstein won’t eat them. She complains to her parents, “Maybe I’m not a real scientist after all….Our project was boring.” Just then, Einstein sniffs Cece’s dessert, leading her to try a new way to get Einstein to eat vegetables. Cece learns that “real scientists have fun finding answers too.” Harrison’s clean, bright illustrations add expression and personality to the story. Science report inserts are reminiscent of The Magic Schoolbus books, with less detail. Biracial Cece is a brown, freckled girl with curly hair; her father is white, and her mother has brown skin and long, black hair; Isaac and Ms. Curie both have pale skin and dark hair. While the book doesn’t pack a particularly strong emotional or educational punch, this endearing protagonist earns a place on the children’s STEM shelf.

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-249960-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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