Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Griffin and the Dinosaur


The Griffin and the Dinosaur:  How Adrienne Mayor Discovered a Fascinating Link Between Myth and Science
by Mark Aronson with Adrienne Mayor, illustrated by Chris Muller
National Geographic, 2014.  48 pgs.  Nonfiction

     Apparently grownups knew this information some time ago, but Aronson and Mayor's fascinating book for children tells the story of how Mayor went looking for a link between Greek mythology and dinosaur fossils and found it.  When she read ancient texts, Mayor thought the Greeks writing about griffins, for example, spoke as though it were a beast they had actually seen. Her researches in Greece led to dinosaur remains, but none that fit the description of any mythical creatures of Greek mythology. But when she branched out into the domain of the ancient and mysterious Scythians, with whom the Greeks traded along what would become known as the Silk Road.  By matching fossil sites with gold deposits, Adrienne found her griffin - the fossilized remains of the protoceratops. Other links between fossils and myth are discussed in this book, which should be a source of fascination for kids who love Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, and had branched out from there into studies of Greek mythology. Mark Aronson is one of the best writers of our time of nonfiction for young people. Even reluctant readers should embrace this interesting and beautifully illustrated volume, a testament to the power of diligence in the service of an unfailing curiosity.

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