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