This engaging biography about Don Johanson, one of the most famous paleoanthropologists of all time will inspire young people to pursue their natural interest in fossils while educating them about humanity’s extensive family tree. Although Dr. Johanson rocked the scientific community with his discovery of Lucy, the earliest known hominid, named after the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” there is much more to the story. As a youth, Dr. Johanson did not apply himself to his studies and was not thought to be suitable college material. Saucier shows how Dr. Johanson’s life changed after discovering Lucy and how some of his actions antagonized others in the field. Along the way, readers are educated about fossils, how they are identified, the fieldwork and dangers that go into their discovery. Readers see how the brash young man grew into a thoughtful, mature person who realized the value of taking calculated risks, defending his discoveries and acknowledging the opinions of others.
Though written for the middle school aged children, their parents will also find this an educational and inspiring read that is practically guaranteed to stimulate their kid’s interest in paleontology. It is rare to find such an entertaining educational book that captures the attention of this age group written in a biographical format but this one does so with aplomb.
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