The Dragon in the Cliff: A Novel Based on the Life of Mary Anning

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9780688101961: The Dragon in the Cliff: A Novel Based on the Life of Mary Anning

Recounts the girlhood of the woman who made many of the important fossil discoveries in the early nineteenth century, yet never received the credit she deserved.

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About the Author:

Mary Anning was a real person. Since little is known about her childhood, Sheila Cole decided that the truest way to tell her story was through fiction. She spent years researching the story. Ms. Cole has written for both children and adults. Her most recent book for children is nonfiction: To Be Young In America: Growing Up With The Country, 1776–1940.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-9-- Mary Anning is the perfect subject for a children's biography, for she was only 13 when, in 1811, she became the first person to discover the fossil of an entire marine dinosaur. Cole does a wonderful job of describing Anning's struggles to overcome the biases of the times, the English town in which she lived, and its prejudices. Anning always had to fight to win the approval of both her parents and the gossipy townspeople, who thought it improper for a young girl to spend her days fossil hunting at the beach. While Cole's facts sometimes differ from the accounts in Fradin's Remarkable Children: Twenty Who Made History (Little, 1987), she also mentions that much of the information on her subject was sketchy, nonexistent, or false. Her novel is entirely believable, and her sensitivity to Anning's plight can't help but remind readers that it wasn't so long ago that women had little say as to the direction of their own lives. Children will identify with Anning's struggles with friends, family, and the ever-present poverty, but by including the societal instigators of her many problems--classism and sexism--Cole refuses to write down to her audience, or to simplify history. She presents here not only the effects, but also the historical causes, and for that she should be commended. --Cathryn A. Camper, Minneapolis Public Library
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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