A Dinosaur Named Ruth: How Ruth Mason Discovered Fossils in Her Own Backyard (Julia Lyon)

Hello, friends! Our book today is A Dinosaur Named Ruth: How Ruth Mason Discovered Fossils in Her Own Backyard, written by Julia Lyon and illustrated by Alexandra Bye, a fascinating tale of paleontology and persistence.

In turn of the century South Dakota, 7-year-old Ruth Mason found her first dinosaur bone in her very own backyard. She began a collection of her then-unusual discoveries, even as friends and family told her that the strange little bones weren’t special or important. As the years passed and Ruth found more and more of the unusual bones, she began writing universities and museums about her discoveries, only the receive the same answer: the things she was finding in the Badlands weren’t significant, weren’t important, weren’t special. For decades, Ruth kept collecting, kept writing, and kept being dismissed. That is, until the day in 1979 when she finally received a knock on the door…

A most unusual and intriguing dinosaur story! The paleontological gold mine that Ruth Mason’s family ranch turned out to be serves as an interesting lesson on not only patience and dealing with being underestimated, but also a salute to doing something simply for the love of doing it. Despite having her discoveries dismissed for over seven (!) decades, Mason continued to collect fossils and display them in her “garden of bones”; whether or not the world thought they were important (which, it turns out, they very much were), they brought her joy and so she treasured them. Lyon’s text is filled with gentle cheerfulness and a touch of cheek, perfect for the optimistic tone of the story. Bye’s lush illustrations are suffused with warmth and atmosphere, imbuing the characters, including the charming Ruth and even the living versions of dinosaurs whose bones she loved, with personality and energy. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ really enjoyed this heartwarming tale of a tenacious girl and her dinosaurs. Overall, a unique and rewarding story, and we loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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