On the rocks;Children's books
Stone Girl, Bone Girl by Laurence Anholt, with illustrations by Sheila Moxley (Doubleday pound;9.99) begins with Mary surviving a lightning strike when only 15 months old, and emphasises her close relationship with her father. After his death she hunts for curiosities with only a little dog as companion. It is a compelling and atmospheric account, with Mary cutting a lonely, driven figure.
Catherine Brighton's The Fossil Girl (Frances Lincoln pound;9.99), pictured above, is told in a series of speech-bubbled picture frames. Mary is accompanied by her brother Joe (no dog), and in place of the lightning strike she escapes injury when a wooden tower - built to help reach the ichthyosaurus - collapses. There is no need to decide which version is best: making both available will provide opportunities for comparing retellings, and for further inquiry into Anning's life.
Michael Thorn is the deputy head of Hawkes Farm primary school, Hailsham, East Sussex