Dragon Bones: The Fantastic Fossil Discoveries of Mary Anning

by Sarah Glenn Marsh (Author) Maris Wicks (Illustrator)

Dragon Bones: The Fantastic Fossil Discoveries of Mary Anning
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Dragon Bones is a picture book biography of fossil-hunter Mary Anning, who discovered a dinosaur skeleton that changed the landscape of paleontology.

At home in her seaside town in England, little Mary Anning stared out her window. Unlike other children, Mary couldn't wait for a rainy day. Because when it rained... the bones were revealed.

With her father and brother, Mary would go out searching the damp soil after a storm, with the hopes of finding something nobody had seen before: a dinosaur.

After her father dies, Mary must continue her search, picking up his tools and venturing out alone. In her life, she discovered several creatures, but was never given credit...until recently.

This eye-opening biography of the legendary Mary Anning, illustrated by Maris Wicks, shatters expectations and brings together two creators who are as passionate about their subject as they are about their art. Inspiring, this true adventure begs for re-reads.

Kirkus Reviews

A lively portrayal of an outstanding 19th-century woman and her contributions to the study of paleontology.

Publishers Weekly

Glenn Marsh offers a conversational picture book biography of unsung English paleontologist Mary Anning (1799-1847), beginning with her childhood in a coastal English town whose stormy weather frequently "uncovered new, unusual things from deep within the rocky earth." Though the white family sells the fossilized bones and shells to combat hunger amid food shortages, Anning is beguiled by the objects. And when her brother makes an interesting find, she keeps digging, eventually unearthing ichthyosaur and plesiosaur fossils--both subsequently bought and publicized by men who failed to credit the finder. Employing shifting angles, Wicks's stylized pencil and digital art juxtaposes the subject's modest seaside existence with her determination and metaphysical images of the fossils that compel her: "strange, nameless creatures curled in the cliffs." Back matter includes a contextualizing short biography of the "mother of paleontology," more information about her finds, and information about becoming a paleontologist. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 2-5--Nineteenth-century paleontologist Mary Anning gets her moment in this new picture book biography. From her early days searching for buried treasures to put food on the table to finding her first major fossil at 13 to starting her own Fossil Depot, Marsh and Wicks illuminate the life of Anning with simplified, almost parablelike reverence. Never too busy, each page delicately sets the scene and captures the environment in which Anning was making her discoveries, for which she was often overlooked. While not the first children's biography on Anning, this will captivate kids who are interested in dinosaurs but not necessarily ready for full-on science books about them. The back matter not only offers a concise biography of the scientist but also details on the fossils she discovered and tips for becoming a paleontologist. VERDICT Add this to any biography collection, especially those looking to highlight more female scientists.--Aryssa Damron, DC P. L., Washington, DC

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Sarah Glenn Marsh
Sarah Glenn Marsh obtained her master's degree in early childhood education with a focus on literacy. She lives near Richmond, Virginia. Sarah Green is an illustrator and designer based in San Francisco. She illustrated Abrams's Elizabeth Warren, among other picture books.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date
February 20, 2022

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!