Mary Anning's Curiosity

by Monica Kulling and Melissa Castrillón

This fictionalized account of the childhood of Mary Anning, who at age 12 in 1811... read more

This fictionalized account of the childhood of Mary Anning, who at age 12 in 1811 discovered the first icthyosaurus fossil in the world, is written with child- appeal at the forefront. Mary, growing up in Lyme Regis, England, early in the 19 th century, is from a poor family. Her father is a carpenter by trade but also hunts fossils and Mary loves going with him, despite her mother’s disapproval. Ma wants Mary to get an education, not grubby on the cliffs and beach, but the sale of ammonite and other fossils helps support their family. When Pa dies, Mary’s passion and drive and grief all find release in the search for new specimens, which is how she and her brother spot the giant eye that leads to the amazing discovery of a great creature, one Pa always suspected was hidden somewhere in the rock. Mary emerges as a singular child full of determination in a story that features occasional black-and-white illustrations reminiscent of Lois Lenski’s cozy images. A short, accessible chapter book concludes with more information on Mary’s life and work, as well as the discovery of fossils and the deepening understanding they helped scientists develop about the history of the earth. (Ages 7-10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018

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