Monday, September 04, 2017
Finding Wonders, by Jeannine Atkins
It's compelling material, but I was disappointed with the final product. Atkins notes that she had rather thin documentary material to call on for the lives of Merian and Anning. The verse style was her strategy for glossing over those deficits (as it allows her to skip about and leave unfinished business). It also leaves a superficial feel to the story. We never get a strong feel for these girls and what really drove them on. That is, except for Mitchell's story. Now, Mitchell's story is more compelling to me for at least two reasons (her upbringing as a Quaker and her later career as an instructor at my alma mater, Vassar College), but it is plain to see the difference that richer sources bring to the story. And while the verse is still trite, the story itself is significantly more moving.
Excellent notes and a bibliography at the end will be invaluable to stimulating readers to search out more about the lives and impact of these women. That will make the book appealing to librarians and educators.