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DRAGON BONES by Sarah Glenn Marsh


The Fantastic Fossil Discoveries of Mary Anning

by Sarah Glenn Marsh ; illustrated by Maris Wicks

Pub Date: Nov. 23rd, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-250-14021-0
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

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)