On the rocks;Children's books

25th June 1999 at 01:00
The 200th anniversary of the birth of Mary Anning, famed as the young fossil hunter of Lyme Regis, has prompted two very different picture books, both excellent, based on her life. Each concentrates on Mary's first and most dramatic discovery, an ichthyosaurus.

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

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today