Mary Anning and The Sea Dragon

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9781480056879: Mary Anning and The Sea Dragon
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Over two hundred years ago, a young girl discovers a fossil, and begins a lifelong vocation that earns her a place in history. "The patience and dogged determination of the unconventional Mary shines through, making her story one not only for dinosaur-lovers, but for those appreciate stories of strong girls as well." -- Publishers Weekly.

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About the Author:

Jeannine Atkins, a former high school English teacher, is the author of three other picture books, including A Name on the Quilt, illustrated by Tad Hills. Intrigued by the mix of legends and facts surrounding Mary Anning, the author visited Lyme Regis, and there conceived her interpretation of the events leading to Mary Anning's lifelong search for fossils. Jeannine Atkins lives with her family in Whately, Massachesetts.

Michael Dooling has illustrated numerous books for children. Among them are George Washington: A Picture Book Biography by James Cross Giblin and O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi and Other Stories. He lives in Audubon, New Jersey, with his wife, Jane, and her daughters, Rachel and Lisa.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 2-4-Two more picture-book biographies celebrate Mary Anning's bicentennial, recounting her childhood discovery of a complete ichthyosaur and noting her adult career as a self-taught paleontologist. Atkins follows the earlier lead of Catherine Brighton in The Fossil Girl (Millbrook, 1999) and Laurence Anholt in Stone Girl, Bone Girl (Orchard, 1999) as she focuses on the single year in which 11-year-old Anning slowly scraped the sand and stone of the Lyme Regis shore to uncover the huge reptile fossil. Her patience and persistence, are emphasized in a smoothly crafted narrative employing more fictionalized conversation and detail than any of the other books. Dooling's watercolors on textured paper employ a predominantly blue, gray, and brown palette conveying the loneliness of Anning's pursuit in this murky, seaside place. Like Brighton and Anholt, Atkins adds a final author's note commenting on Mary Anning's adult discoveries. Don Brown, in a smaller horizontal volume, omits such a note. His text quickly recounts Anning's childhood discovery of the ichthyosaur, and goes on to sketch a chronological account of the woman's entire life. The tan-and-blue watercolor scenes are less compelling than the bolder work in the other books, though several dramatic episodes punctuate the dangerous terrain in which Anning worked. The emphasis here is on the richness of spirit compensating for economic poverty. Both Stone Girl and Fossil Girl are more strongly realized and appealing works, but Sea Dragon reads well, and Rare Treasure is a competent simple biography. None of the writers reveal their actual sources of information on Anning's life. The tale of a child making such a distinctive discovery is inherently interesting, and the scientist's career is a worthwhile story, too. The array of books should attract a wide variety of readers and serve well in science classrooms.
Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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