Fossil Hunter: How Mary Anning Changed the Science of Prehistoric Life

Clarion. Jan. 2022. 128p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780358396055.
Gr 4-8–Along with relating Mary Anning’s experiences seeking fossils and becoming an expert paleontologist before the term existed, this is the story of a girl growing up in the early 1800s. Blackford brings enthusiasm and reverence to this biography as both an author and a geologist. Readers will learn that Anning was struck by lightning as a very young child; her dog, Tray, accompanied her on digs and guarded her finds; and she kindly let children look through trays of fossils at her shop. These details give a sense of Mary as a person while descriptions of her toils, including how she dressed, dealt with different social classes, and chose not to augment the skeletons she found broaden the sense of her character. Appearing on almost every page are paleo-art paintings, photos of her fossils, a historic strata map, etchings, images from Anning’s journals, and more, that present a visual representation as exciting as her story. Documentation includes a time line, glossary, where to see her fossils, source quotes, and more.
VERDICT An excellent addition to any collection where there is an interest in paleontology or women’s history.

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