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Stone Girl Bone Girl: The Story of Mary Anning Paperback – December 28, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Bks; First Trade Paper Edition edition (December 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781845077006
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845077006
  • ASIN: 1845077008
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 9.2 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Anholt's cumbersome and text-laden story centers on the early years of Mary Anning, born in 1799 and known in her native England for her discovery of ancient fossils. From the moment that her beloved father, nicknamed "Pepper" for his "speckled beard," extracts a "snakestone" (a fossil of a snake) from the clay cliffs near their seaside home, Mary spends her days searching alone for similar "curiosities," while peers taunt her with the titular nickname. Soon after her father dies, Mary discovers a dog (with a coat like "speckled pepper") near his grave. Encouraged by the Philpot sisters, local scientists, the mournful girl continues to collect fossils and searches for the giant sea monster's bones, which, legend has it, lay hidden in the cliffs. Her devoted pet leads his young mistress to the skeleton of this ichthyosaur, then vanishes. As with the death of Mary's father, the text glosses over the dog's disappearance, but readers will likely see it as a shadow cast over the discovery and marking another significant loss in young Mary's life. Moxley's (Skip Across the Ocean) vividly hued, primitivist artwork features some creatively skewed perspectives as well as several potentially disturbing images: a farmhouse teeters on the edge of eroding cliffs, while nearby are half-submerged cows and a person apparently gesturing in distress. Anholt convincingly lays the groundwork for Anning to go on to become a noted scientist and local hero, but youngsters will likely find this account of her childhood sad rather than celebratory. Ages 5-9.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4-Mary Anning, born in England in 1799, made an astounding discovery at the age of 12 when she unearthed the first full skeleton of an ichthyosaur in the cliffs above her home in Lyme Regis. Anholt begins his picture-book biography with a dramatic episode in which baby Mary is said to have been struck by lightning. The well-shaped, fictionalized account creates a cozy view of her relationship with her father, who taught her to recognize the many forms of fossils in the crumbly Dorset cliffs before his death when she was perhaps 10 or 11. A mysterious, small dog Mary finds in the cemetery becomes the agent in finding the enormous fossil. Two wealthy women, allegedly scientists, tutor Mary as she develops a small business selling fossils as curiosities to tourists. Pleasing folk-art views spread across the pages in luscious blues and greens, magenta, and pumpkin, following the plucky child's odyssey that led to her lifelong contribution to paleontology. Children will be attracted by the jacket view of dinosaurs climbing the path through the cliffs below Mary. Picture bands bordering one side or the other of most pages handsomely unify each spread. The substantial text reads aloud well. The author provides a short closing note on Anning's place in science and also claims that she is the inspiration of the traditional rhyme "she sells seashells by the seashore." No attributions of factual material are provided.
Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

The story is punchy and fun!
Frank Murphy
There are other books about Mary Anning, but this is the most 'picture book' of the bunch - which made it more accessible to my preschooler.
Melissa Moreton
Her father did not fashion a 'magical' box for her out of wood from a tree struck by lightening.
Diane Stranz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Diane Stranz on September 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
First let me say that by all means I think every child should be taught about Mary Anning. She is a role model and her life story is an inspiration. This book, however, does not tell her life story.

The older I get the more convinced I become that one of the worst things we do to our children is fill their heads at a young age with supernatural "tall tales" -- which are, really, downright lies. We tell our children there is a Santa Claus and read them stories about Paul Bunyon, John Henry, and St. Francis of Assisi levitating and charming animals . . . . As they grow up, they begin to realize that none of these things are true, and then we wonder why they quit listening to us (i.e., trusting us) as they become teens! I mean, duh! Wake up, people! (Yes St. Francis was real, but you will find very little about his real life in the MANY tall tale/legend children's books about him.)

Mary Anning did not accomplish what she accomplished because she was given "supernatural fossil-finding powers" as an infant after a supposed-narrow escape from lightning: this is a tall tale created by local townspeople who could not accept that a 12-year-old girl could actually, on her own human powers, make a major scientific find. Her father did not fashion a 'magical' box for her out of wood from a tree struck by lightening. Mary did not value ammonite fossils because they "were golden" and made her feel like "the cliffs are full of treasure." She valued fossils for what they were: evidence of prior life on earth. Similarly, her father did not teach her 'strange, magical names' for fossils: he understood fossils as being interesting, unexplained curiosities (period).
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Frank Murphy on June 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
There are a few picture books out about Mary Anning! All of them are good, but this is THE ONE to read to younger kids! The illustrations are vibrant and colorful. The story is punchy and fun! Kids will be amazed by the story of a young girl who gets struck by lightning as an infant, survives, and as a child finds the fossil of one of the world's largest dinosaurs! It's all true! There's even a dog companion! Buy it and read it to your kids, they won't soon forget it!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I can't remember a more beautifully written children's book since my children were born. The way the story was told was so simple and yet so powerful, I have no hesitation in recommending this to anyone with children. I read it to my 3 and 5 year old girls and they ask for it every night. Simply beautiful.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Howell on June 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
Stone Girl, Bone Girl tells the story of Mary Anning, an extraordinarily prolific fossil hunter born in England in 1799. When Mary began fossil hunting, she did not understand the significance of what she was finding. She was just hunting for curiosities, which she could sell to tourists in Lyme to make a bit of money for her extremely poor family.

Her first major find came at the age of 12, when she uncovered an ichthyosaur. Over the years as she continued to hunt in and around the cliffs of Lyme Regis, Mary Anning found hundreds of fossils, including plesiosaurs, pterosaurs, and several more ichthyosaurs. Although she herself never left Lyme Regis, the fossils Mary found made their way to museums worldwide and contributed to the work of many of the major scientists of the day. Among them was Charles Darwin, who used her fossils to help develop the theory of evolution, which he described in his book, On the Origin of Species, published in 1859.

The good:
I found this book nearly as interesting as my daughter, and so, didn't mind reading it to her as many times as she asked. My daughter loved that Mary Anning found her first important fossil at the tender age of 12. I love that she hunted for it despite being laughed at by the other children, and that she persisted in fossil hunting even though it was an odd thing for a woman, much less a 12-year-old girl, to do in early 19th C England. And we both enjoyed the illustrations, which are dramatic and imaginative.

What I didn't care for:
The mysticism surrounding the dog. I didn't much care for the dog being presented as the spirit of Mary's father, come to comfort her after his death and find the ichthyosaur for her.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jilly ILLY on January 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
They were captivated from the very opening when Mary was the only survivor of a lightening strike. The fact that Mary made her first major discovery when she was only twelve demonstrates to children that it is possible for them to achieve great/important things. My girls were so interested in paleontology after reading this book that it has spurred them on to learning more about Mary Anning, fossils and evolution. They have since gone fossil hunting and were thrilled to be just like Stone Girl, Bone Girl!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book introduces children (and adults like me!) to an inpsirational scientist. The artwork is superb and the story of a 12 year old girl who makes an important scientific discovery is captivating. I recommend this book for any child who is interested in science, paleontology, history, or art (or who just likes a good story!)!
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More About the Author

LAURENCE ANHOLT is a UK based author illustrator. In a career spanning three decades, he has produced over 200 children's books in more than 30 languages.

Titles such as the the self-illustrated ANHOLT'S ARTISTS series and the hilarious SERIOUSLY SILLY STORIES have sold many millions of copies around the world. Laurence has also collaborated on numerous picture books with his wife, the artist, Catherine Anholt.

Laurence's debut novel for Young Adults will be published in the UK by Penguin Random House in January 2016. THE HYPNOTIST is an extraordinary tale of prejudice and tolerance set in the Deep South of America in 1963 - A slice of history, a sprinkle of magic realism and a twist of humour!

Born in 1959, Laurence Anholt was brought up mainly in Holland where he developed a lasting love of Art. He went on to study Painting for 8 years, culminating in a Master's Degree from the Royal Academy of Art in London. Catherine and Laurence live and work in a house on a hill with studios and wild flower meadows, overlooking the sea in Devon, southwest England.

Laurence's books have won numerous awards, including the prestigious Nestlé Smarties Gold Award on two occasions. For more than a decade, Laurence has been amongst the top 200 Most Borrowed Authors from UK libraries across all genres. He was included in the Independent on Sunday's Top 10 Children's Authors in the UK and was described by William Watt as "one of the most versatile authors writing for children today".

Catherine and Laurence have been closely involved with a number of UK literacy schemes such as the UK Government funded Bookstart scheme. Their publication Babies Love Books (also a much-loved picture book) encourages parents to share books with babies from the earliest possible age. Their work has taken them inside Buckingham Palace and Downing Street on several occasions.

Laurence's self‐illustrated ANHOLT'S ARTISTS series, is an introduction to great artists for young children. This multi-million selling series is used as part of the national school curriculum in many countries and is sold in galleries and museums all over the world. The books, which include CAMILLE AND THE SUNFLOWERS, DEGAS AND THE LITTLE DANCER and THE MAGICAL GARDEN OF CLAUDE MONET have taken Laurence on many fascinating journeys of discovery. Each scrupulously researched story is based on an actual encounter between a real child and a great artist. In several instances, Laurence has been assisted by relatives of the artists or by the protagonists themselves - for example, Laurence developed a long-standing friendship with Sylvette David, Picasso's Girl With a Ponytail. This series currently includes 9 titles and it has been adapted in many forms, including Apps for iPads, stage and TV productions and a full scale van Gogh musical which Laurence launched in Korea. The Anholt's Artists books are renowned not only for their educational value, but also for their life-affirming themes of aspiration, tolerance and acceptance of those who are different.

Laurence Anholt is a much sought after public speaker, talking about literature and his own zany view of life at conferences such as the European Council of International Schools Conference, the Society of Authors' Bi-Annual Conference and the Edinburgh Festival.

The Anholts have three grown up children, Claire and twins, Tom and Maddy. Claire is an anthropologist who works for the UN Secretariat in New York, Maddy is an actor living in London and Tom is a successful artist based in Berlin.

Laurence Anholt's interests include art, literature, adventure travel and Buddhist meditation.

For further information visit the Anholts' website: http://www.anholt.co.uk

Follow Laurence on Twitter: @LaurenceAnholt

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