Cover Image: Fossil Hunter

Fossil Hunter

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Member Reviews

This e-copy was kindly given to me by Netgalley and the publisher for review. All opinions are my own. 

I think I duped myself on this book. I went into it thinking it would be one of those juvenile nonfiction books that crosses into the territory of being almost picture book like, with illustrated pages and what not. I was wrong, lol. And being disappointed in that is no ones (and specially not the books) fault, but my own. But, I will say that as far as information and everything else, this is a solid read. I recommended this title to the JNF selector at the library system for as a good one/ one worth considering to purchase. I love the dinosaur and paleontologist aspect, but hearing the early story of a woman in the field was really awesome! And one that I think has a positive message for young girls interested in science based careers or predominantly male dominated fields.
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Fossil Hunter by Blackford is a great extension resource when studying fossils, especially for students who love non-fiction. The story of Mary Anning’s life is inspiring, and despite many obstacles presented in an old school society of England, Mary persevered in doing what she loves and making history as a first woman fossil scientist.
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This is a brilliant children’s biography of Mary Anning. I was hooked from the very first pages where we are introduced to the dying dinosaur. The book combines fantastic illustrations and photographs with a detailed look at the life of this important woman. I like the way the book highlights how difficult it was for women to get any recognition for Scientific work that they did and the timeline at the back is a useful addition. 
This a great non fiction book for any child with an interest in fossils, dinosaurs and Science in general and I will definitely be buying a copy when it is published in January.
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An excellent to any classroom library or children’s bookshelf. A wonderful glimpse into Mary Anning’s life and her contributions to science. An easy, informative read with purposeful use of pictures, sketches, and drawings.
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The story of Mary Anning is part of our 4th grade reading series, so this book is a nice addition to my classroom for students who want to explore her life story even further. It's also nice to find books that depict females in underrepresented careers or females exploring a male-dominated field. I had not heard of Mary Anning until well into my adulthood - and likely due to the fact that I am teacher. We need more books that highlight the important contributions of women, and of course, students in upper elementary school remain fascinated by dinosaurs, so it is truly a win-win of a book!
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I WILL be sharing Fossil Hunter with my students when we study fossils this year.  I wish I had it the last three years for this unit.  I can't wait for my female students to have another role model in a usually male dominated field.

Fossil Hunter is a book about Mary Anning.  She was an influential self-taught scientist in the study of paleontology.   When Mary was thirteen her brother found the fossil of a skull that was so heavy he needed the help of others to carry it.  Mary knew there had to be a body to go with the skull and was determined to find it.  She never gave up until she found it.  Many thought the fossil was from a crocodile, but scientists soon determined that the fossils were not crocodiles due to the circular bones around the eyes.  Scientists who bought her fossils used her knowledge to make a name for themselves, including the naming of her finds as a new species.  

Like many women of that time, she was ignored by the scientific world run by men.  It is important to note that she was finally recognized 150 years after her death by the Paleontological Association naming an award after her and the Royal Society including her in a list of the most influential women in the history of British Science.  Five years later, 2015, a new species of Ichthyosaurus is named after her.  They are long overdue tributes of a woman who followed her dreams, but it is good to know they are recognized. 

This is a great read to learn how paleontologists moved from believing a fossil belongs to one species and the study to prove they do or not.  This is definitely a five star read.  I was given the opportunity to read this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Being the science lead at my school and also having taught both year 3 and year 6, where fossils are explored as part of science topics, I couldn’t wait to get stuck in to this book and it didn’t disappoint. Fossil Hunter is a non-fiction book detailing the story of Mary Anning, it includes quotes from her as well as those who knew her, a variety of photographs and double page spread illustrations which altogether makes for such interesting reading. 
Within the book, you get to learn about what it was like for Mary Anning growing up and also how, despite being such a wonderful fossil hunter, she wasn’t acknowledged as such until a long time after her death. I found this book very well written and particularly liked how Blackford detailed the meaning of names given to the fossils found as, along with the photographs, it helps a reader to get a sense of what these fossils looked like and how scientists give quite literal names to things. The timeline included towards the end of the book helps to get a sense of how slowly things moved with regard to women being taken seriously in the scientific world and will definitely be something I highlight to the children in my class. 
This book will appeal to both adults and children, who want to learn more about Mary Anning, what she achieved in her lifetime and how this influenced our knowledge of animals who once lived on Earth.
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Wow! What a fantastic book!  I loved learning about Mary and her paleontology finds.  This book was well researched and explained wonderfully.  Mary was a pioneer in paleontology, she was inventive, hard-working, and self-taught. Her discoveries were amazing and she never stopped searching for more answers. 

If you are interested in learning about dinosaurs, excavations, fossils, history, women in the 19th century, fossil finding on the English coast, or just a great book then this book is for you.  


Posted on Goodreads, Indigo.ca, The StoryGraph, and MyBookPledge on October 3, 2021.
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This book was very informative, but read more like a college paper or essay. The wording style and dry approach made it less engaging. I loved the biographical info and actual pictures being used, but it felt too direct at times.
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ARC Review:

This was a quick and interesting read. There were lots of scientific drawings, sketches, pictures of real fossils and more to keep younger readers engaged. Mary's life was framed well and the story moved quickly. I enjoyed the quotes before each chapter.
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Used this for our women’s study section with my students when we studied Mary Anning and it was perfect! Such a great book!!
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A short, but detailed biography of Mary Anning and her major discoveries. 

The text is straightforward, but at the same time, includes enough information to satisfy a curious UKS2 pupil. There are also illustrations of the creatures she found and quotes from letters she wrote herself or things contemporaries wrote about her, giving it historical accuracy.

This is a great little book for anyone who is interested in geology, dinosaurs, or life for women in 19th century England. It contains enough information to be more than a cursory account of Anning’s life, but not enough to overwhelm.

I review a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Author Cheryl Blackford gives us a thoroughly researched, exquisitely illustrated biography of Mary Anning, fossil hunter extraordinaire who scoured the treacherous beaches and hills of Lyme Regis, England, in the early 1800s. Although Anning's family life was filled with tragedies, she persevered to discover, prepare, and illustrate fossils and provide for herself and widowed mother.

Although many of Anning's writings were lost to neglect and time, Blackford thoroughly researches every interesting primary source available. The author manages to give us an intriguing and accessible account of Anning's life complete with timeline, glossary, and extensive bibliography.

I read this in one sitting. Highly recommended for teen and young adult students and anyone interested in unsung heroes of science, women who preserved, or paleontology.

I've preordered my copy which will be published in January 2022.

Thank you to NetGalley for lending the eArc in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to Net Galley for an ARC of Fossil Hunter by Cheryl Blackford.  I love that the author showcases Mary Anning and her amazing fossil discoveries in the early 1800s.  Mary was a trail blazer in fossil hunting in Lyme Regis, England because at the time women weren't supposed to be doing anything but be a house wife and mother.  (I had heard of her because I read the historical fiction book, Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier.)  Mary's family couldn't afford to pay for any schooling for her but she learned how to find fossils from her father.  She made amazing discoveries of ichthyosaur and plesiosaur fossils and  the male geologists and scientists studied them intensely to learn about how these animals and earth's rocks and layers evolved.  Unfortunately, Mary never got the recognition she deserved until well after her death.  In this book, there are amazing photos and illustrations that show you the fossils discussed.  A glossary and timeline are also included that help with the technical terms and put Mary's accomplishments into context to what what happening around the world and after her death. There is also a nice resource of where you can find her fossils now since many of Mary's fossils and documents have been lost since she was female and no one took care of her legacy properly.  I think upper elementary and middle school students would enjoy reading about this original paleontologist, Mary Anning.
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Publication date: January 25, 2022

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review an advanced reader's copy of this book. This in no way affects my review, all opinions are my own.

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

A fascinating, highly visual biography of Mary Anning, the Victorian fossil hunter who changed scientific thinking about prehistoric life and would become one of the most celebrated paleontologists of all time. Perfect for children learning about woman scientists like Ada Lovelace, Jane Goodall, and Katherine Johnson.

Mary Anning grew up on the south coast of England in a region rich in fossils. As teenagers, she and her brother Joseph discovered England’s first complete ichthyosaur. Poor and uneducated, Anning would become one of the most celebrated paleontologists ever, though in her time she supported herself selling by fossils and received little formal recognition. Her findings helped shape scientific thinking about extinction and prehistoric life long before Darwin published his famous work on evolution.

With engaging text, photographs, and stunning paleoart, Fossil Hunter introduces this self-taught scientist, now recognized as one of the greatest fossilists the world has ever known.

This is the first Mary Anning book I have read after seeing the movie AMMONITE and learning about her...but the relationship thing in that movie was not true. (And don't let your dinosaur freak kids watch that!!!!) Some great facts in here in this bute little book for kids and a guide to museums around the world that have the fossils that she found.

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. ") on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋
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Mary Anning is probably one of the most important figures in the early study of prehistoric life.  Born and raised in a small seaside Victorian town, Mary grew up with a father who hunted for fossils along the beach.  He then sold these fossils to supplement the family's income, something Mary continued after his death.  Mary is credited with a lot of crucial discoveries that helped scientists further our understanding of prehistoric animals, but it was rare that she ever got credit during her lifetime.  This middle grade age biography is great at hitting the highlights of Mary's life, giving hints of her personal life in addition to the great scientific achievements she had.  The illustrations of the animals Mary unearthed are fantastic and a great addition to the story, as it often shows both the fossil and an artistic rendering.  There's a lot of info packed in this relatively short book, but it's an interesting read and a great addition to any library's collection.
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I've read several enjoyable fiction books about Mary Anning, but this is the first middle grade non-fiction book I've read about her.  Blackford writes a well-researched, completely factual account that still reads like a good story.  She paints a picture of the time period when when scientists (and avid amateur collectors), all men of course, were beginning to use fossils to understand prehistoric creatures that no longer exist, and then she recounts Mary's life and her amazing discoveries.  Highly recommended for readers of any age interested in overlooked female scientists or in the history of how we learned about the prehistoric world.
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This biography of Mary Anning is astounding! I’m not a big fan of nonfiction, and I was never a “dinosaur kid,” but this book enraptured me! It’s the perfect combo of interesting, narrative in framing, and enthralling that makes you want to keep turning the pages. It would be ideal for 3rd-5th graders. There is a timeline of Anning’s life, a glossary, a bibliography, and a list of where you can see Anning’s fossils in museums across the globe.
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