Sunday, June 28, 2020

Spring Reading 2020 Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of Mary Anning, the First Paleontologist

"She sells seashells on the seashore." Many of us hear that tongue twister as children, but we do not hear the story of the woman it is based on. Mary Anning's life is described for us in this lovely picture book biography. We read of her collecting fossils and shells that her family sold to tourists to support themselves. With no formal training, she taught herself what to look for and discovered the skeleton of what was named "ichthyosaurus." Although she lived at a time when women were not expected or even allowed to be scientists, Mary made amazing finds in the field of fossils and the men who were allowed to pursue their scientific dreams came to her for answers.

Illustrations show Mary climbing over cliffs and rocks, digging with her hammer and chisel in all kinds of weather. They also show "geologists, scientists, and scholars" trailing along behind her. Along with an author's note there are also a timeline of Miss Anning's life and "Bone Bits and Fossil Facts" among the back matter. Although we may feel frustrated on her behalf, at least we have the satisfaction that Mary's contributions to the field are finally being recognized. With books like these, young readers will have the chance to appreciate her perseverance and self-taught expertise.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher for review purposes.

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