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A Dinosaur Named Ruth: How Ruth Mason Discovered Fossils in Her Own Backyard

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For fans of Shark Lady and from the New York Times bestselling illustrator of Dr. Fauci comes the incredible true story of a girl who discovered dinosaur bones in her own backyard and, after years of persistence, helped uncover one of the most exciting paleontological discoveries of our time. There’s an extraordinary secret hidden just beneath Ruth Mason’s feet. The year is For fans of Shark Lady and from the New York Times bestselling illustrator of Dr. Fauci comes the incredible true story of a girl who discovered dinosaur bones in her own backyard and, after years of persistence, helped uncover one of the most exciting paleontological discoveries of our time. There’s an extraordinary secret hidden just beneath Ruth Mason’s feet. The year is 1905, and Ruth is a prairie girl living in South Dakota. She has no way of knowing that millions of years ago, her family farm was once home to scores of dinosaurs. Until one day, when Ruth starts finding clues to the past: strange rocks and rubble scattered all across her land. They’re dinosaur fossils—but she doesn’t know that yet, either. It will take many years of collecting these clues, and many, many questions, but Ruth’s curiosity will one day help uncover thousands of fossils all across her land. New York Times bestselling illustrator Alexandra Bye’s vibrant illustrations bring to life this inspiring and exciting debut picture book from award-winning journalist Julia Lyon.


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For fans of Shark Lady and from the New York Times bestselling illustrator of Dr. Fauci comes the incredible true story of a girl who discovered dinosaur bones in her own backyard and, after years of persistence, helped uncover one of the most exciting paleontological discoveries of our time. There’s an extraordinary secret hidden just beneath Ruth Mason’s feet. The year is For fans of Shark Lady and from the New York Times bestselling illustrator of Dr. Fauci comes the incredible true story of a girl who discovered dinosaur bones in her own backyard and, after years of persistence, helped uncover one of the most exciting paleontological discoveries of our time. There’s an extraordinary secret hidden just beneath Ruth Mason’s feet. The year is 1905, and Ruth is a prairie girl living in South Dakota. She has no way of knowing that millions of years ago, her family farm was once home to scores of dinosaurs. Until one day, when Ruth starts finding clues to the past: strange rocks and rubble scattered all across her land. They’re dinosaur fossils—but she doesn’t know that yet, either. It will take many years of collecting these clues, and many, many questions, but Ruth’s curiosity will one day help uncover thousands of fossils all across her land. New York Times bestselling illustrator Alexandra Bye’s vibrant illustrations bring to life this inspiring and exciting debut picture book from award-winning journalist Julia Lyon.

30 review for A Dinosaur Named Ruth: How Ruth Mason Discovered Fossils in Her Own Backyard

  1. 4 out of 5

    Annette Whipple

    A Dinosaur Named Ruth tells the story of how a young, curious girl grows up. But she stays curious...and continues to collect bones from her land. She didn't know if they were ordinary. As you might guess, they turned out to be extraordinary! The bones on her ranch represented 99 dinosaurs. The dinosaur bones were are displayed in museums around the world. One of the dinosaurs from the land of Ruth Mason was sent to Wales...and is named Ruth. This is a favorite closing line in a book: "Thanks to A Dinosaur Named Ruth tells the story of how a young, curious girl grows up. But she stays curious...and continues to collect bones from her land. She didn't know if they were ordinary. As you might guess, they turned out to be extraordinary! The bones on her ranch represented 99 dinosaurs. The dinosaur bones were are displayed in museums around the world. One of the dinosaurs from the land of Ruth Mason was sent to Wales...and is named Ruth. This is a favorite closing line in a book: "Thanks to one very patient girl named Ruth who pulled the past from her pocket and showed it to the world." Beautiful text. Beautiful illustrations. Both will keep children reading it many times. Highly recommend!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mindy Alyse Weiss

    I loved learning about Ruth. Her curiosity and determination gave a great contribution to the world. A child’s curiosity is priceless. I bet this book will inspire kids to explore and find out more about the ground they live on, too. And when they find something they believe is special…not to let anyone make them think it’s worthless. I love the hidden dinosaurs in some of the illustrations. I kept going back to see if I missed any.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    Beautiful book, great story. As a collector of natural treasures-- including bones and fossils-- I felt so inspired (and justified!) to continue collecting, cataloging, and marveling at the world around me. Any child who likes dinosaurs, rocks, exploring, history, and knowing more than the adults and experts will love this story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bradley Scott

    This book was so heartwarming! My class enjoyed this book read aloud and was so engaged learning about this important woman. They also enjoyed all the fun pictures and hidden dinosaurs in the pictures. This is a great read aloud for a classroom or nighttime story with any dinosaur loving child.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jilanne

    A wonderful new addition to STEM women biographies. The story of a woman from the Black Hills of South Dakota who followed her own curiosity, undaunted by having her findings brushed off by the scientific community as "unimportant," until they finally explored her discoveries when she was in her 80s. Bones that she'd unearthed, especially "touch bones" that children are allowed to handle, are now included in the collections of museums around the world. In addition, ten mounted skeletons of dinos A wonderful new addition to STEM women biographies. The story of a woman from the Black Hills of South Dakota who followed her own curiosity, undaunted by having her findings brushed off by the scientific community as "unimportant," until they finally explored her discoveries when she was in her 80s. Bones that she'd unearthed, especially "touch bones" that children are allowed to handle, are now included in the collections of museums around the world. In addition, ten mounted skeletons of dinosaurs in natural history museums also came from her property. It's a good thing she persisted! Great story with additional information in the back matter to pique the curiosity of those fossil-minded kids. They may want to start digging in their own back yards.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Helaina Storie

    Encouraging story about preserving. Ruth doesn’t get her discovery acknowledged until late in life but that doesn’t stop her. For those who enjoy dinosaurs and a timeless lesson you will love A Dinosaur Named Ruth.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michele Knott

    I really enjoyed this nonfiction picture book biography about Ruth Mason and how she accidentally discovered dinosaur bones at her home in South Dakota. Not knowing they were dinosaur bones, but knowing they were something special, Ruth collected these bones and continued to write letters to experts at museums and universities, telling them about her collection. It wasn't until later in life did someone finally pay attention to her collection, discovering she had many dinosaur bones on her land! I really enjoyed this nonfiction picture book biography about Ruth Mason and how she accidentally discovered dinosaur bones at her home in South Dakota. Not knowing they were dinosaur bones, but knowing they were something special, Ruth collected these bones and continued to write letters to experts at museums and universities, telling them about her collection. It wasn't until later in life did someone finally pay attention to her collection, discovering she had many dinosaur bones on her land! I really liked how the illustrator had layouts of dinosaurs seemingly looking over Ruth's shoulder, as if to encourage her in telling everyone about her discovery!

  8. 4 out of 5

    April VanZandt

    This is an exceptional book about Ruth Mason and teaches children to not give up and be consistent. This author tells a great story and had my kids asking what’s next. This story opened up so many questions and was an absolute teaching moment.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Davis

    An inspiring story of curiosity, persistence, and the mysteries of our ancient world. I had no idea about the story of Ruth Mason, a young girl who, in the author's beautiful words, "pulled the past from her pocket and showed it to the world"-discovering hidden dinosaur fossils in her own backyard and never giving up hope that someone, somewhere, would come to see the importance of her findings. Lyon's words take us on a fascinating journey of Ruth's life, encouraging all readers to ask question An inspiring story of curiosity, persistence, and the mysteries of our ancient world. I had no idea about the story of Ruth Mason, a young girl who, in the author's beautiful words, "pulled the past from her pocket and showed it to the world"-discovering hidden dinosaur fossils in her own backyard and never giving up hope that someone, somewhere, would come to see the importance of her findings. Lyon's words take us on a fascinating journey of Ruth's life, encouraging all readers to ask questions, pay attention to your surroundings, and never give up. The text is a perfect complement to Bye's rich, warm, and textured illustrations. A great book for all ages and wonderful addition to schools and libraries as well.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    A great book to introduce the world of paleontology. My daughter now wants to search our backyard!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Well written. Our 10 and 12 year old can’t get enough of reading and rereading-which is great because as adults it’s interesting!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Mattern

    The illustrations in A Dinosaur Named Ruth are a lovely accompaniment to this charming true story of perseverance. My daughter and I very much enjoyed reading Julia Lyon's picture book together! The illustrations in A Dinosaur Named Ruth are a lovely accompaniment to this charming true story of perseverance. My daughter and I very much enjoyed reading Julia Lyon's picture book together!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Such a charming book! I love that the story is true, and there could be magic waiting for any of us under our feet. The illustrations are perfect for children, but even as an adult, I was taken. It’s a quick read, and can imagine it’ll be a favorite for a lot of kids - who will ask to read it every night before bed.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Natasha Mileusnic

    This is a great read for kids. It's a true story - with glorious pictures by Alexandra Bye - of a young South Dakota girl who found dinosaur bones on her property. For fans of dinosaurs, nonfiction (like my 9-year-0ld), or girl power, A Dinosaur Named Ruth will appeal across age groups. This is a great read for kids. It's a true story - with glorious pictures by Alexandra Bye - of a young South Dakota girl who found dinosaur bones on her property. For fans of dinosaurs, nonfiction (like my 9-year-0ld), or girl power, A Dinosaur Named Ruth will appeal across age groups.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

    Loved this children’s non-fiction about Ruth who as a young girl and adult, knew she had dinosaur bones on her property, even when others wouldn’t listen or believe her.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Peacegal

    This is an inspiring, very cool book that will instantly capture the imagination of any kid who loves dinosaurs and discovery. RUTH would be a great addition to any public or school library!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Ruth Mason was seven when she found her first dinosaur bone on her family's land in South Dakota. Ruth was a curious child, and as her collection grew, she reached out to experts through letters with sketches of her finds. But no one was interested, and when they responded, her correspondents dismissed her claims. Still, Ruth kept adding to her collection. When she turned 80, her thoughts about those bones were vindicated when a fossil hunter visited her and realized what treasures she had unear Ruth Mason was seven when she found her first dinosaur bone on her family's land in South Dakota. Ruth was a curious child, and as her collection grew, she reached out to experts through letters with sketches of her finds. But no one was interested, and when they responded, her correspondents dismissed her claims. Still, Ruth kept adding to her collection. When she turned 80, her thoughts about those bones were vindicated when a fossil hunter visited her and realized what treasures she had unearthed. Eventually, paleontologists unearthed bones from 99 different dinosaurs. One of the dinosaurs that ended up displayed in Wales was named after Ruth, that young girl who knew she had something special on her land despite what others had told her. The digital illustrations feature many different types of bones and capture Ruth's curious and energetic nature as well as her zest for life. Hers is a story of persistence, and it's impossible to read this book and not wonder about what might have been lost to science had Rick Brooks not made that visit to her ranch. Her story is told in an almost breathless fashion, and it's sure to inspire others to start searching their own property for signs of possible prehistoric inhabitants.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Janice Hechter

    In this enchanting story, a young girl named Ruth Mason makes an amazing discovery, from millions of years ago. History is literally in her backyard. She takes the initiative to go her own search for hidden clues and keeps a collection of all that she finds. But Ruth still has many unanswered questions and never gives up on finding the answers. Ruth Mason is a wonderful role model for inquisitive young girls. This well-written and captivating story, filled with rich language, really held my inte In this enchanting story, a young girl named Ruth Mason makes an amazing discovery, from millions of years ago. History is literally in her backyard. She takes the initiative to go her own search for hidden clues and keeps a collection of all that she finds. But Ruth still has many unanswered questions and never gives up on finding the answers. Ruth Mason is a wonderful role model for inquisitive young girls. This well-written and captivating story, filled with rich language, really held my interest. It is perfect for children who crave a good mystery and have an interest in dinosaurs. Perhaps most important is its message of the power of persistence.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Molly Cluff (Library!)

    This is great for Women's History Month! I like the bright illustrations and the story about a girl collecting dinosaur bones and fossils all through her life. Some of the syntax is a bit advanced for younger kids even though there isn't too much text per page, but I bet I could simplify it for a preschool crowd if necessary. This is great for Women's History Month! I like the bright illustrations and the story about a girl collecting dinosaur bones and fossils all through her life. Some of the syntax is a bit advanced for younger kids even though there isn't too much text per page, but I bet I could simplify it for a preschool crowd if necessary.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amita Snyder

    This is a fascinating story about a woman who never gave up. She knew in her heart that she had found something special, and despite being ignored for years, she kept listening to that voice inside her. It is an empowering story about persistence and listening to your gut, even when no one else seems to get it. And there's cool dinosaurs! This is a fascinating story about a woman who never gave up. She knew in her heart that she had found something special, and despite being ignored for years, she kept listening to that voice inside her. It is an empowering story about persistence and listening to your gut, even when no one else seems to get it. And there's cool dinosaurs!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kyle French

    Great picture book biography. Hearing the title and seeing the cover my students didn't initially believe it was a nonfiction book. It is so packed full of information about a historical figure many of us have never heard of. Great picture book biography. Hearing the title and seeing the cover my students didn't initially believe it was a nonfiction book. It is so packed full of information about a historical figure many of us have never heard of.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ella Schwartz

    I loved learning about Ruth. What a remarkable story. I’m ready to go digging in my yard!

  23. 4 out of 5

    CJ Penko

    This book should be a staple in any household with young (or old) dinosaur fans. I was blown away by the story, and the illustrations will keep any child's attention. This book truly is a "find."😉 This book should be a staple in any household with young (or old) dinosaur fans. I was blown away by the story, and the illustrations will keep any child's attention. This book truly is a "find."😉

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

    Love the bold, vibrant illustrations.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Rummel

  26. 5 out of 5

    Winston

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anastasia

  30. 5 out of 5

    Spencer

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