Mary Anning and the Sea Dragon by Jeannine Atkins

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The girl who found the first sea reptile fossil

Mary Anning loved to scour the shores of Lyme Regis, England, where she was born in 1799, for stone sea lilies and shells. Her father had taught her how to use the tools with which she dug into the sand and scraped at the stones that fell from the cliffs. And he had taught her how to look, to look hard, for "curiosities."

One day, when she was eleven, Mary Anning spotted some markings on a wide, flat stone. She chipped at it with her hammer and chisel until the lines of a tooth emerged--and then those of another tooth. Weeks of persistent effort yielded a face about four feet long. But what creature was this? Her brother called it a sea dragon.

Many months later, Mary Anning still had not unearthed what she only then learned was called a fossil. But she found out that her discovery was precious and that the painstaking effort to uncover traces of ancient life was profoundly important. Jeannine Atkins's sensitive and engaging portrait is strikingly illustrated by Michael Dooling, whose powerful paintings capture young Mary Anning's devotion to her work, and all the joy she found in it.

About Jeannine Atkins

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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.
Published September 14, 1999 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 32 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Nature & Wildlife, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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While Don Brown's Rare Treasure (reviewed above) took a larger view of Mary Anning's life and work, Atkins zooms in on the girl's first major discovery (at age 12), igniting the scientist's lifelong vocation.

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Doctor Fantastique's Show of Wonders

From the author’s Kickstarter page: BOOK FOUR: The Wollstonecraft girls are recruited by the famous dinosaur-hunter Mary Anning to investigate the disappearance of her friend, fossil-collector Etheldred Bennet.

Jul 25 2012 | Read Full Review of Mary Anning and the Sea Dragon

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