This NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book describes the lives of six renowned and award-winning naturalists. From childhood to maturity, these girls displayed the attitudes of great scientists. Childhoods filled with adventures in nature characterize each of their stories.
Diverse intelligences often lead to nontraditional careers – pathways that many young readers may find appealing. These girls’ families encouraged them to explore and investigate – they certainly were not “left inside.” The commitment and extraordinary intelligence of the young women described in these biographical chapters will inspire both girls and boys at the intermediate level. There is also an introduction and more recommended readings for those who want to go further.
— NSTA Recommends (May 2010)
Both the title and the contents of this book will pique the interest of budding naturalists. Two of the six women are well known scientists for whom biographical information is easily accessible, but four others are less well known. Maria Sibylla Merian, Anna Botsford Comstock, Frances Hamerstrom, Rachel Carson, Miriam Rothschild, and Jane Goodall are each described in separate 8 to 10-page chapters. The curiosity, thrill of discovery, and exploration started when the women were young and blossomed as they pursued their nontraditional careers. Much here will inspire young people to follow their interests, whether in science or another field. . . . For collections that want to provide inspiration to future scientists or classes that study these women, this title would be a good selection. Recommended.
— The Book Report (March/April 2001)- Leslie Schoenherr
In a unique approach to natural science, Dawn Publications has provided a user-friendly paperback that will attract the attention of adolescent girls (and some boys) as to what scientists do, especially female scientists. Simply and gracefully written, “Girls Who Looked Under Rocks” by Jeannine Atkins is a must-buy for school libraries, as well as parents who wish to encourage their young daughters in traditionally male occupations. Atkins has done her research meticulously and writes her facts well.
— Linda Hutton – Hutton Book Review Services (January 2001)
Not all girls run from insects and scream when they see snakes. Some get nose to nose with nature, to paint what they see, to write about what they learn, and to remind girls everywhere that rotten logs and mud puddles hid wonders. This book shares the stories of six groundbreaking female naturalists, including Rachel Carson and Jane Goodall. Grades 4 and up.
— Learning Magazine (January 2002)
Girls Who Looked Under Rocks: The Lives of Six Pioneering Naturalists, by Jeannine Atkins, is an early chapter book that features biographies of six women: Maria Sibylla Merian, who in 1699 traveled to South America to learn about beetles, butterflies, and spiders; Anna Botsford Comstock, whose work led to the inclusion of nature study in schools; Frances Hamerstrom, who gave up a career as a model to be a field biologist; Miriam Rothschild, an entomologist; Rachel Carson, whose seminal work Silent Spring advocates for minimizing pesticide use and keeping the balance of nature; and Jane Goodall, who pioneered observing primates in their natural habitat and ultimately changed the way many biologists study their subjects. The author explains in the introduction that she chose women who, “sought beauty in unlikely places.” This is a great resource for young researchers and biographers.
— Connect (www.synergylearning.org) (May/June 2008)
Written by Jeannine Atkins and illustrated by Paula Conner, Girls Who Looked Under Rocks: The Lives of Six Pioneering Naturalists is a small paperback providing biographies of six women who became internationally recognized scientists and writers. Two of the women, Jane Goodall and Rachel Carson, are relatively well-known, but the other four, Maria Sibylla Merian, Anna Comstock, Frances Hammerstrom and Miriam Rothschild, are much less so. Most likely to appeal to the younger end of the target 10 to 16 year-old readership, these stories could be used as a starting point for raising critical questions about gender, science and the environment.
— Green Teacher – Jackie Kirk (Spring 2002)
Girls Who Looked Under Rocks, written by Jeannine Atkins, illustrated by Paula Conner, explores the lives of six female naturalists. Rachel Carson and Jane Goodall are well known, but four other lesser-known women also made important contributions to the study of nature and ecology. If your daughter doesn’t run from spiders and snakes, these stories of other girls who shared the same interests may well inspire her.
Miriam Rothschild grew up in a mansion surrounded by wild animals like zebras and kangaroos that family members assembled. She started collecting ladybugs at age four, and decided to specialize in fleas as an adult.
Maria Sibylla Merian traveled to South America in 1699 to study and paint plants and animals in their natural environments.
Anna Comstock was one of the first women to earn a degree in entomology, and she promoted the study of nature in schools. In 1895 she became the first woman professor at Cornell University at a time when women seldom went to college at all.
Budding scientists of either gender will enjoy reading about these remarkable women and their influence on how we perceive nature today.
— California Kids! (January 2001)
This book is about six women naturalists: Maria Sibylla Merian, Anna Botsford Comstock, Frances Hamerstrom, Rachel Carson, Miriam Rothschild and Jane Goodall. Their true individual stories cover their early childhood, the journeys they took along the way, and their many accomplishments.
Each of these remarkable women loved to be outside in nature, exploring bugs, animals and birds. As they grew older, they hungered and searched for knowledge about their area of interest. All these astonishing, intelligent, conscientious women wrote books, journals and papers and on their discoveries. Because of what these women did, we have a superior knowledge of nature and the world around us.
This book may be appreciated by young and old alike. What I liked about the books was how these women proceed in their particular areas of interest – as naturalists, scientists, artists and journalists – that were primarily a mans domain at that time in our civilization. How steadfast they all were in following their hearts! Never giving up on learning and making a difference in how we might look at the world. Unwavering through learning, teaching and writing, they proceeded forward, living long and happy lives doing what they truly loved.
— Alaska Wellness – Heather Calbick (July/August 2007)
Jeannine Atkins’s pays tribute to pioneer naturalists like Jane Goodall and Rachel Carson and honors the spirit of all youngsters enthralled by the natural world. Short biographies of six women trace their quest for greater knowledge to their childhoods, often in eras of strict gender roles. Maria Sibylla Merian’s painter-stepfather was scolded by neighbors for teaching the girl to draw along with her brothers in 17th century Germany. In early 20th-century America, Frances Hamerstrom, who with her husband was at the forefront of ecological studies, had to sneak out of the family mansion at night to visit the marsh frogs. Details of those times and the girls’ pluck are rendered beautifully in Paula Conner’s pen-and-ink illustrations.
— Washington Parent (March 2001)
This is a book that I would want to read to my little girl. It tells six separate stories, written about young girls who didn’t run from spiders or snakes.
They dared to be what they dreamed about as children and then continued to courageously persevere through the many obstacles of society. The girls left their mark on the world by becoming award-winning Naturalists and Writers.
They were as comfortable with a pen as with a magnifying glass. Rachel Carson and Jane Goodall stories are here, richly illustrated by Paula Conner. There are other stories of young women who through their efforts advanced our understanding of the world around us.
“It’s a waste of time to teach painting to a girl” people said of Maria Merian in the early 1700’s but later on as a naturalist and painter, her portrayal of beetles and butterflies led to a greater understanding of how plants and insects depend on each other, contrary to thinking at that time. In the 1800’s Anna Comstock who loved the outdoors was told by neighbors “What does a farm girl need of college?.” She went on to become one of the first women entomologists as well as the first female professor at Cornell University and later introduced Nature Study into the public schools. Jeannine Atkins’ book is beautifully illustrated in poignant black and white charcoal drawings which contribute dramatically to the wonder and mysterious charm of each vignette. Particularly captivating is the portrayal of a girl wrapped in her butterfly wings bursting forth from her cocoon. The book is inspirational and empowering for young girls..A MUST READ.
— Mary Drew – American Association for University Women Newsletter
Girls Who Looked Under Rocks by Jeannine Atkins is a user-friendly paperback that will attract the attention of preteens and adolescent girls as to what scientists do, especially female scientists. Simply and gracefully written, this title is a must-buy for school libraries, as well as for parents who wish to encourage their young daughters in traditionally male occupations. Atkins has done her research meticulously and writes her facts well. Six women are portrayed her: Rachel Carson, Anna Comstock, Jane Goodall, Frances Hamerstrom, Maria Merian and Miriam Rothschild. . .
— BookWomen (February/March 2002)
. . . Not all girls run from spiders and snakes. Women naturalists were not always encouraged in the science fields because many involve getting dirty and traveling to foreign fields, activities believed unsuitable for women.
This book relates some highly interesting brief biographies of six women who pioneered their chosen studies in nature. . . Often the only women working what were called “men’s fields,” these women persevered and followed their love of learning more about the world in which they lived. Several of these women were children of wealth which perhaps have them more opportunity to pursue their dreams, but they were not necessarily encouraged to leave the drawing room for outdoor adventures. Whatever their accomplishments, these women earned their accolades. . . .
–Weatherford Daily News – Dee Ann Ray (March 12, 2011)