Archive for the ‘Picture Book Biographies’ category

Shark Lady

July 20, 2017

If you’ve been watching the news this summer, you might have noticed shark sightings and attacks have popped up on the East Coast and the West Coast. These creatures may be scary, but they are also fascinating. Eugenie Clark knew just how intriguing sharks could be. She spent her entire life studying them and their behavior. If you have a child who has the same attraction to sharks as Eugenie Clark did, I have the perfect picture book biography to dive into.

shark lady

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist is written by Jess Keating and illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky.

Jess Keating cleverly tells the life story of Eugenie Clark. There was a time when women were considered not smart enough to become scientists. Eugenie Clark helped prove those naysayers wrong. From early on, she studied sharks and all types of fish. She went on to college and received her Bachelor of Arts degree, her master’s degree, and a doctorate in zoology. She traveled the world and dived into waters where others dared not go to explore sharks and their habits. She proved sharks could be trained and worked to make sure they were protected. Because of her work and research, Eugenie Clark became known as the Shark Lady. Marta Álvarez Miguéns’ colorful illustrations and Jess Keating’s informative text invites readers to keep turning the pages to learn about sharks and the amazing accomplishments of the Shark Lady. The back matter in the book adds another dimension for readers. It includes interesting facts about sharks, a time line of Eugenie Clark’s life, and an author’s note with bibliography. This appealing book is one to add to your collection.

 

 

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A Book for Dinosaur Lovers

June 2, 2016

Who doesn’t love dinosaurs?

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When my daughter was small, she was captivated by dinosaurs. She had a huge collection of dinosaurs along with dinosaur cards, books, and stamps. She even had those eggs that dissolved in the bathtub to reveal a sponge dinosaur. My daughter’s prehistoric creatures could be found in almost every part of our house. Her interest in nonfiction books came about because of them. The collection is now stored in our basement. I’m eagerly waiting for our adorable twin granddaughters to be old enough to take the collection home and create their own dinosaur land.

Dinosaur

During the Ogren-house dinosaur era, nonfiction picture book biographies were not as plentiful as they are today. I recently picked up Barnum’s Bones in our local library. My daughter would have loved this book when she was into her dinosaur phase. Author Tracey Fern tells the story of Barnum Brown and how he discovered the most famous dinosaur in the world.

Barnum Brown was born in 1873. From the time he could walk, he loved collecting things that his father unearthed as he plowed the farm fields. His collection grew and so did his fascination of dinosaur fossils and bones. While studying paleontology at the University of Kansas, Barnum’s professor invited him to go on a fossil hunt. Barnum had a nose for finding bones. His name came to the attention of a professor at Columbia University who was also an administrator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The professor from Columbia wanted his museum to have the best dinosaur collection in the world. He hired Barnum and sent him to different parts of the United States and South America. Barnum returned with loads of bones, but not that unique one. Undaunted, Barnum continued his quest. With his uncanny sense for finding bones, his persistence, and his knowledge, Barnum’s search proved successful when he found “a perfect, four-foot-long T. rex skull” in the badlands. T. rex was the pride and joy of the American Museum of Natural History. Visitors and scientists came from all over the world to see it and study it. Tracey Fern’s engaging text and Boris Kulikov’s expressive watercolor illustrations done in earth tones make this biography a clever account of dinosaur information and an entertaining read. Dinosaur lovers will want to make this book a keeper.

Barnum’s Bones: How Barnum Brown Discovered the Most Famous Dinosaur in the World written by Tracey Fern and illustrated by Boris Kulikov, Margaret Ferguson Books Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012.

 

 


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