Friday, September 3, 2021

Mary Anning's Curiosities

I love fossils! I have an ammonite on my desk, and I think my first book was my dad’s geology textbook – it was filled with black-and-white photos and drawings fossils and dinosaurs. So I’ve been wanting to read this book a long, long time.

Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of Mary Anning, the First Paleontologist 
by Linda Skeers; illus. by Marta Álvarez Miguéns 
40 pages; ages 4-8
Sourcebooks Explore, 2020

theme: fossils, biography, nonfiction

Mary Anning dodged high tides and crashing waves to scout the beach near her hometown of Lyme Regis, England.

Basket in hand, Mary is searching for fossils ~ “curiosities” that people will pay money for. Then one morning, she and her brother saw bone with an eye socket. They chiseled away dirt and stone, exposing a skull! Mary wanted to find the creature’s body so she continued searching. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month.

What I like about this book: Mary Anning is curious about her curiosities. She wants to know more, so she studies papers, draws the fossils she finds, and even cuts some open. People think these fossils are of Monsters! But Mary isn’t afraid – she keeps hunting for more. 
I like how author Linda Skeers depicts Mary and the society she lives in. Even as scientists study her fossils, they refuse to admit her to the Geological Society of London. Women are NOT ALLOWED. 

There is great back matter, too. “Bone Bits and Fossil Facts” is filled with tidbits of info and definitions of some of the words in the book. And there’s a wonderful timeline

Beyond the Books:

Find out more about Mary Anning at the Natural History Museum in London.

Make your own fossils. Here’s how (from PBS). And here’s 25 more fun fossil activities.

Learn more about ichthyosaurs in this National Geographic video.

Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review from library copy.


  1. This book sounds great. My library has it, so I have requested it. I look forward to reading it. Thanks for the heads up. You always feature such good books.