Mary Anning's Curiosity
Written by Monica Kulling
Illustrated by Melissa Castrillon
Publication Date May 01, 2017
Mary Anning, considered the world’s greatest fossilist, discovered her first big find at the age of twelve. This novel is an imaginative re-creation of her childhood in early nineteenth-century Lyme Regis.
Mary was born in 1799 in Lyme Regis, England, to a poor family. She and her older brother were the only two of ten children to survive. Her father, a carpenter and part-time fossil hunter, taught his children to look for fossils.
When her father injured himself and was unable to work, Mary quit school and took up fossil hunting full-time to help support her family, a task that became even more important when her father died, leaving the Annings in debt.
At the age of twelve, Mary, with her older brother Joe, found what they believed to be the skeleton of a gigantic crocodile, the Great Croc of the legends. Between dodging her rival fossil hunter, the Curiman, and the sheer work of carefully digging out the fossil, Mary took almost a year to excavate what would later be termed the Ichthyosaurus.
Mary Anning may have been uneducated, poor and a woman, but her life’s work of fossil hunting led her to make many discoveries that influenced our understanding of prehistoric creatures and the age of the Earth. In 2010, Mary was named among the ten British women who have most influenced the history of science. Charles Darwin even cited Mary’s fossilized creatures as evidence in his book On the Origin of Species.
In this triumphant novel about scientific discovery, Monica Kulling brings Mary Anning and her world to life for young readers.
Monica Kulling is the author of over fifty books for children. Her most recent book is On Our Way to Oyster Bay: Mother Jones and Her March for Children’s Rights, illustrated by Felicita Sala. She has also written the popular Great Idea series, including In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps It Up. Monica’s work has been nominated for many awards, including numerous Silver Birch Express and Golden Oak awards. Her recent picture books include Happy Birthday, Alice Babette, Grant and Tillie Go Walking and The Tweedles Go Electric. Monica Kulling lives in Toronto.
Melissa Castrillon has a First Class Honors Degree in Illustration and a master’s degree in Children’s Book Illustration from the Cambridge School of Art. She is a freelance illustrator based in Cambridge, England.
"Mary's story should inspire young readers to seek unconventional paths, to work hard and to never give up hope." Youth Services Book Review, STARRED REVIEW
"Mary presents an admirable role model for her lively mind, independent spirit, and a continuing sense of wonder that drives her to chip away at nature's mysteries." Kirkus Reviews
"A stirring story made more inspirational by the reality of its protagonist." Booklist
"Mary Anning's Curiosity packs much good material into a slim volume, introducing young readers to one of science's great characters at a pivotal point in her story." Foreword Magazine
"With this fictionalized look at Anning's childhood, Kulling provides context for readers and offers a fascinating glimpse at how those who came before us have shaped our comprehension of the world." School Library Journal